Don’t all Australians love a bargain? But the question is, how many of us would love it if we knew the real cost of these cheap clothes. Majority of Australians have benefitted from cheap clothes and they are certainly very easy to buy if you don’t know where they were made, who they were made by and how the workers were treated in the process. Just imagine being threatened by your boss, mentally, verbally and physically abused to work faster than you already were, not to mention in a hot, humid and crowded environment and for all for this intolerable pressure, you get paid barely enough to live on.
The want to make clothes based on one thing…price. Several worldwide companies have taken advantage of Dhaka, which is the poorest city in the world, because the work and labour is extremely cheap. This included some of the most well-known companies such as: Kmart, Target, Rivers, Zara, Forever New and Benetton. Rivers employ their workers at wages less than three dollars a day or six thousand taka a month. This is far from enough to live on as room rent is one thousand seven hundred per month, fire wood is six hundred taka per month and one bag of rice is between one thousand six hundred to two thousand taka. This is not as low as it gets… workers at the Rosita factory, which makes clothes for Coles, pays their workers 22 cents per hour. Meanwhile Dhaka is not the only part of the world where cheap labour occurs. Some of the lowest paid workers are found in Saudi Arabia where there is no minimum wage. This allows of the factories to pay their workers for how fast they work which means most of the workers are paid for being ‘slow’. In one factory in China, majority of the workers have to stay overnight in the factories’ rented rooms because they cannot afford to stay anywhere else. In each small room there is around twelve to twenty people, can you imagine that?
The working conditions throughout factories in Bangladesh and many other Asian