consumerism current affairs development economics equality fair trade globalisation lifestyle shopping wealth

“The Sweatshop High Street” – Guardian

The Guardian has an interesting article on it’s front page today (Monday 03/09/07).

Its about the wages behind cheap clothes sold in a couple of the UK’s major high street retailers. Here is a sentence taken from the article by Karen McVeigh.

“Brands including Marks & Spencer, Mother Care and H&M, confirmed that wages paid to garment workers were as low as £1.13 for a nine hour day. ”

It’s this sort of thing we are trying to find. We need to find the background to the everyday things we take for granted. Do we really know the actual cost of a cheap bargain?


  1. Yes, and there was good news as Primark promised to re-audit their factories. Of course, they are likely to ‘find nothing’ again, but at least the issue is in the papers and people are becoming aware.
    If you’ve seen the film ‘Walmart: the high cost of a low price’, you’ll see how these audits fail – staff are given fake payslips to show inspectors and are instructed to lie about their hours. If they tell the truth, they lose their jobs, so the lie continues and the fashion houses are happy not to probe any further. These are middle men doing the exploiting, and the only people who can call them to account are the fashion brands, so they are responsible even if they don’t own the factories themselves.

    Anyway, good to see it in the news.

  2. My name is Florence Fineau, and I’m in knitwear manufacturing in Madagascar. Last December, a wholesaler from Middlesex, London took possession of a large consignment of custom made pullovers, slipovers, scarves and hats, and since then there has not been any sign of his payment despite continually begging for it. Our small factory provides a cushion to 250 extremely poor families in Antananarivo against the darkness of hunger and starvation, and we feel that it will not take very long before the whole thing collapses. I’m sorry if I’m not knocking at the right door but my co-workers and our families would be eternally grateful to you if you could guide us through to the relevant authorities in the UK that could help us to recover our desperately money from the wholesaler, who even claims to have a fairtrade license. May God bless you!

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