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Sweatshops / Human Rights Violations in the workplace

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Alisha Gambhir

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Sweatshops / Human Rights Violations in the workplace

Sweatshops / Human Rights Violations in the workplace
Multiple articles in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" that are often ignored by sweatshop operations.
These articles include:
Article 1 – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Article 5 – “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Article 23 – (2) “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work,”
Article (4) “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his/her interests.”
Article 24 – “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.”
Why would one choose to work under these conditions?
Sweatshops are one of the first positive signs of growth for those in developing countries.
Two individuals would only trade if it was beneficial for BOTH.
A minimum wage should be analyzed by the standards in the country in which it is being paid. Something that is considered a low wage by Canadian standard does not necessarily deem it to be one.
The main concern in developing countries is food and shelter. The standards of living are quite low, therefore a small amount of money can get you a lot further.
Overview on Sweatshops
Reporters examined working conditions for 100,000 workers in 83 factories spread across third world countries. Only to discover that huge brands like Adidas, Converse, Abercrombie and Fitch, Victoria Secret and Billabong amongst many others were not following any rules when it came to labour rights.

They had factories mainly centred in countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and The Philippines.

Workers were being paid less than minimum wage and some were not even legal age to be working.

Young women working in the Sri Lanka within these factories were told that the employers would have a preference for one that did not marry.

In Indonesia, many workers were not a part of the union as they feared losing their contracts.

Ashling Seely, the spokesperson said that they would not be approaching any of the brands or retailers individually due to the reason that there was such a large number. However, they are continuously working on an industry wide solution.
Bangladesh Factory Collapse

April 2013
The American Apparel CEO has been on a crusade ever since the collapse of a sweatshop in Bangladesh that took the lives of more than 1,100 people in April.
Globalization, and with it the outsourcing of manufacturing labor from rich countries to poor ones, has lifted millions out of extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1 a day). Shutting down sweatshops completely would only erase those gains.
Recent talk of raising minimum wage. ($40 a month)
Served as a reminder that even though Nike managed to turn around their image, parts of the industry still have not made any changes.
Raising Awareness
Educate yourself!
One of the drivers of sweatshops is over-consumption in the rich world.
Petitions are a great way to raise awareness. You can use the 10000 voices for human rights petition or write your own.

Sunday, 27th November is "Buy Nothing Day".
As You Sow,Behind The Label,Free the Slaves,Global Exchange,GoodWeave, Green America,Human Rights for Workers, United Students Against Sweatshops etc.
Boycott efficiently.
The company has executed one of the greatest image turnarounds in recent decades.
Not long ago, it was being publicly shamed for it's labor practices.
The company was so badly tarnished that is started to effect their sales.
Paid workers 10c an hour, 16 hour days, tolerated abuse, cramped spaces,exposed to toxic fumes, no talking, limited access to facilities.

Background on Sweatshops | Do Something. (n.d.). Do Something | Largest organization for teens and social cause. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/background-sweatshops
Green America's Ending Sweatshops Program: What You Can Do. (n.d.). Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/sweatshops/whatyoucando/
Sixty big name brands continuing to use sweatshop labour. (2011, May 3). thejournal.ie. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from www.thejournal.ie/60-big-name-brands-continuing-to-use-sweatshop-labour-130318-May2011/
Thompson, J. (2013, April 30). Sweatshops violate human rights; American companies at fault. The Collegian. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.kstatecollegian.com/2013/04/30/sweatshops-violate-human-rights-american-companies-at-fault/
Woolfe, S. (2013, July 16). Sam Woolfe: A Critical Look at Sweatshops. Sam Woolfe. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from http://www.samwoolfe.com/2013/07/a-critical-look-at-sweatshops.html

Topics of Discussion

Declaration articles ignored
Overview on Sweatshops(video)
Brands currently sourcing from sweatshops
Reasons someone would chose this job
Bangladesh Factory collapse
Raising Awareness
Full transcript