Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dying to work

More details are emerging from Bangladesh where police fired on garment workers, killing one and injuring 80 others. These are people who are working for a pittance so that Europeans can buy a sweater for 30 euros. They aren't saying that they don't want to work, but they want better conditions and a living wage.

Bangladeshi textile factory owners and government ministers aren't interested in seeing Bangladesh losing out on the lucrative textile export earnings to other South East Asian countries, and in the competitve world of the garment trade where it costs a few US cents to make a t-shirt, these workers don't stand much of chance. They'll be replaced by those hungrier and more desparate long before there is any kind of wage increase.

Such is the nature of the beast. The scary part is that in Europe there are literally wharehouses full of these cheap clothes that were overproduced from season to season that never get sold, even after being marked down and flogged on to discount wholesalers.

None of these clothes are made in Europe as the textile industry is pretty much dead. Just like the Bangladeshi worker.

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