Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tesco and Asda force unpaid overtime...

...up to 80 hours a week and pay workers in Bangladesh 7p an hour. Do they still need our money?

Yesterday's Guardian published a study from the War on Want campaign highlighting the working conditions in "factories supplying Primark, Tesco and Asda". According to the report, titled Fashion Victims II, and based on interviews with 115 workers in Bangladesh, "many were struggling to survive on meagre wages and some were subjected to physical and verbal abuse".

Following a similar report from 2006, which gave evidence of "textile workers in Bangladesh paid as little as five pence an hour to make cheap clothes", Primark, Tesco and Asda all promised to clean up their act. In 2008 the pay's gone up to 7p an hour, which -against rising inflation- means a drop in real value. More, workers are still required to work up to 80 hours a week.

And before you come up with some abysmal "that's the way it is in countries like Bangladesh", just know that the local labour law sets the weekly limit at 48 hours (and 60 including overtime). So, in essence, those high street companies whose dividends are rising exponentially are forcing people to work overtime

In the words of John Hilary, Executive director of War on Want, "[f]or too long the UK government has supported purely voluntary initiatives for improving the rights of overseas workers". However, "there have been few steps taken to improve workers’ rights, pay or working conditions within these mechanisms".

As you read the corporations' hollow and twisted response to the report, remember that Tesco, Asda and Primark have made enough money to still need our generous help.

1 comment:

thepatriot said...

Typical leftie stuff. Time and again you get those anti-global protesters lashing out at evil corporate power from the west. But at least those people in Bangladesh are given a job. If Tesco and the rest weren't there investing their cash you'd have thousands and thousands without a job. They'd be a shoo-in for the prostitute trade. This is never mentioned.