‘Fashion Victims’: Hideously Unethical Outsourcing in Clothing IndustryPosted: June 25, 2013
“It’s price, price, price, price, price and profit”.
A STORY FOR ANYONE, EVERYONE, WHO BUYS CLOTHING IN THE WEST.
Last night, ABC’s Four Corners program finally aired the story ‘Fashion Victims’. If you’ve been reading the world news since April 24th, you would have seen/read something about the human, legal, social, political and commercial fallout from the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.
The collapse of Rana Plaza – an unsafe (and possibly illegally 8-story) commercial building that included clothing factories – killed and maimed thousands of people already struggling to live amidst poverty, and drew the world’s attention to the shocking conditions workers in that country’s clothing industry are forced to endure.
What’s worse… their lives, and Western profit, are interconnected. Lax labour laws and the lowest wages in the world have attracted apparel companies (including Australian companies) in recent years (like Benetton, Mango, Forever New, Rivers, Cotton On, Coles, KMart, and Target). Companies who have evidently had (until recent scrutiny) little regard for the safety or fair treatment of the workers working in the potential death traps/factories they outsource to across Bangladesh. Many under abusive “supervision”.
Retailers are also accused of contributing to unsafe conditions by paying Bangladesh factory owners so little that ensuring factories are safe becomes a cost they need or want to cut. Meanwhile, families of those lost still grieve, and the now disabled (thus, unable to work) victims of this hideous disaster remain uncompensated, facing an even more difficult future. How the feck will they support themselves, and their families, now?
Just one of the many reasons why ethical, conscious consumption matters.
In the interests of becoming more conscious, You can watch the full story here, on ABC iView:
The story will also be replayed tonight on ABC1 at 11.35 pm.
More on this story, responses from the companies, anti-sweatshop activism & the issue at large coming soon-ish, in future posts. Time strapped right now – so much to write about, so little time.