Use of Third World Slave Labor
A group of exhausted workers all wearing brightly coloured jackets
filter out of the sweatshop factory and breathe a sigh of relief that
their busy day is finally over. They seem oblivious to the dreadful
stench of raw sewage as they breathe in the air that is thick with
dust. The women stumble down the muddy lane and arrive at their damp,
wooden homes. They have just a few hours to recover before they must
start work again.
Have you ever wondered, as you pulled on a pair of trousers or slipped
on your trainers, what life would be like for the person who made
them? Nike promotes sport and healthy living, but the lives of the
workers who make Nike's clothes and shoes in Asia and Latin America
are anything but healthy. Stop to consider that the worker who made
those £50 trainers was paid just 13p an hour to make them.
In Russia, the clothing company Gap pays factory workers 7p an hour.
Are these wages enough for employees to enjoy an acceptable standard
of living? In 1999 Gap made profits exceeding £600 million and Gap's
Chief Executive Officer was paid the equivalent of £15, 000 an hour.
The Board Chairman of Gap is one of the 100 richest people in the
world, yet women in its Russian factories are paid such a pittance. I
believe that the people who are actually producing the clothes play
just an equally important and crucial role in the manufacturing
process as those higher up in the business and it is extremely unfair
that the difference in pay is so vast. The factory workers possibly
even work harder and for longer hours, yet they are barely paid a
In 1999, Gap spent £360 million on advertising alone, so it definitely
could afford to pay decent wages. Perhaps it is the fact that these
companies are so greedy and selfish that they do not think about the
lives of those people suffering to make the products, or possibly they
underpay workers because they know that they can get away with it.
Many workers are so desperate for jobs and feel that a little money is
better than none. On this income I think that they cannot possibly
feed, clothe and care for themselves, let alone their families.
Hours that employees are pressurised into working are often
appallingly long and in Saipan, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean,
Asian women make Gap clothes for up to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Often, there is forced overtime for up to two hours each day.
Unquestionably, these people must be constantly fatigued to the point
of exhaustion. I feel that these hours are far too long for any human
being to work and the workers must become ill and consequently suffer.
Many of these factories employ children who are ineligible to work in
these places. About 250 million children between the ages five and
fourteen work in sweatshops. Half...