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Argumentative Writing-Use of Third World Slave Labour

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Sweatshops 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. ...read more.


In Macao, Gap workers complained of abusive treatment by factory managers who forced them to work excessive overtime and cheated them out of their wages. This shows that the factory workers do care about their treatment and think that conditions are unreasonable. Should the workers not have the right to free speech? Would you not object if you were treated terribly, paid extremely low wages and pressurised into working long hours? Gap claims to have a code of conduct that makes sure abuses do not occur and it includes statements such as no use of forced labour, payment of a living wage and provision of adequate and safe working conditions. However, the people working in Gap's factories have never heard of this. The television documentary series Panorama has conducted several investigations into the use of slave labour and has found out many devastating details. It was discovered that both Gap and Nike have been using factories in Cambodia, which break their own strict codes of conduct and anti-sweatshop rules. A twelve-year-old girl, who had lied about her age to get a job, was found working there. She explains, "I did not want to come here. But we are very poor so I had to come." Children like this work as long as seven days a week for up to sixteen hours each day and the conditions are terrible. ...read more.


It is developing a casual clothes brand called 'No Sweat' which will be made by independent trade union members in the US, Canada, EU and the developing world. Bienestar will market direct to consumers, relying primarily on catalogue sales for distribution. Their savings in advertising will offset their higher labour costs, enabling them to provide a competitive product and a living wage. We do, after all, live in a capitalist society and in such a free market economy there exists a need for profit to be made. It is always possible to debate the level of profits, but the world economy depends upon supply and demand. It is tempting to take my banner and leaflets down to Gap in our shiny new shopping mall and proclaim the merits of my argument to startled shoppers. I know it is a just cause. Exploitation is wrong. We are one world. At least I have free speech. Even I can see that such worthy idealism may not be a practical solution to this problem. Changing the pattern of world economies and halting rampant consumerism may be beyond me but the rigorous enforcement of existing legislation and lobbying of MPs could start to create change. Fair trade organisations are already in existence for food products and are being extended to all goods. As I slump on the sofa watching overpaid footballers promoting overpriced sportswear, I look down at my �5.99 tracksuit more with smug pride than envy. ...read more.

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