Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The plight of the garment workers of Rana Plaza : Australian responsibility : lots of links for information & aid

24/09 2015
Following the ABCTV Four Corners program last night, I am re-publishing a former post on the fire at Rana Plaza and the garment workers' plight. The original post has quite a collection of links, particularly to labour rights organisations. I have now added a further myriad of links from the ABC Four Corners site. The post has now become quite encyclopaedic with regard to the links. There is no excuse now for being uninformed; for not writing that letter; for not donating or not attending that benefit. Most of all there is no excuse for not encouraging people - in whatever industry - to join their union. Labour rights on the factory floor and humane intervention by governments is what prevents such events as the garment factory fire which has killed, maimed, and defrauded so many. Please act now!

We have all heard about the Bangladesh factory fire of 24 April, 2013 which killed 400 people.  This is nothing new. Bangladesh (and those international retailers who commission goods from factories there) have form.  The picture above is from a 2012 fire which killed 112 people.  For information about the prosecution of the factory owner, please go here.

Kmart, Target, Big W and Cotton On have all not signed on to the global agreement and those companies have no excuse not to be part of this. This is an effective way of actually dealing with a huge tragedy.

It is clear that only consumer activism, complaints, and demands for retailers to supply clear labelling and listing of supply chains will change anything and keep our retailing corporations honest, active and responsive to human rights. I have linked below contact forms and pages for the three major retailers mentioned on The World Today by Michele O'Neil.
Kmart contact form
BigW contact page
Cotton On contact form

Bangladesh has the lowest minimum wage in the world at $38 month.  Cambodia has the second lowest minimum wage in the world at $66 a month, so reports CorpWatch.  And, Australian consumers, if you are tempted to say that costs of living are cheaper in both countries then that doesn't wash.  These are people whose incomes barely put food in their mouths.  Their incomes don't buy four bedroom houses with bathroom, ensuite and plasma TV.  

The fact is that Australian greed, First World greed, 
is exploiting Third World need.

Western consumers must take some responsibility 
for the Bangladesh factory deaths.

One thing you can do that is only a Like away:

I have written to-day to Kelvin Thomson, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade as follows:
Dear Kelvin Thomson,

I write to express my concerns about the recent Bangladesh factory fire which has horrified the world.

I write to ask you, as Minister for Trade, what the Australian Government - and in particular the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - is doing to assist in:
  1. Making Australian businesses compile supply chain details in relation to the products they sell and supply them on request to their customers.
  2. Advising Australian businesses in relation to their responsibilities in relation to human rights when sourcing goods and products from countries with low-wage, non-unionised sweatshops and deathshops.
  3. Keeping watch on countries with low-wage, non-unionised sweatshops and deathshops.
  4. Keeping watch on governments of countries with low-wage, non-unionised sweatshops and deathshops.
  5. Developing Australian Government responses to countries and governments which allow low-wage, non-unionised sweatshops and deathshops.
I plan to follow up to-day by writing to the following retailing organisations:

Below, more links are provided to expand your knowledge on this topic.
Firstly, previous posts on The Network on the 2013 Bangladesh factory fire at Rana Plaza:

Fairwear Australia
Asia Floor Wage
Living Wage as a fundamental right of Cambodian Garment Workers
Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

ADDED - Tuesday 25 June 2013
Wondering what you can do after last night's 4 Corners program
Lots of stuff below - from writing letters, to giving money, to action
and all based on great information

Garment Workers' Appeal | ActionAid Australia | @ActionAid_aus

Australian retailers Rivers, Coles, Target, Kmart linked to Bangladesh factory worker abuse

The above link provides links under the following headings

Email addresses you can write to about their unethical behaviour:
amardirossian@ woolworths.com.au
just group@jjh.com.au

Clothing retailers respond
The following retailers respond: Coles, Forever New, KMart Australia, Big W, Mango Clothing, Cotton On, Benetton, Mango

Reports and Company Audits
See Nothing, Know Nothing, Do Nothing | Inst. for Global Labour and Human Rights | May 2012 -
Chinese Sweatshop in Bangladesh | Inst. for Global Labour and Human Rights | 8 Mar 2012 
Ethical Code of Conduct | Forever New Clothing Pty Ltd

World News Coverage
Uncertain future for Rana Plaza survivors | Dhaka Tribune | 11 Jun 2013
'Rana deserves life term' | The Bangladesh Chronicle | 22 May 2013
Death Mill | Foreign Policy | 9 May 2013 - How the ready-made garment industry captured the Bangladeshi state.

Information on Ethical Garment Manufacturing
Accredited Brands | Ethical Clothing Australia
The Culprits - Who is to Blame? | FairWear Australia
Find Ethical Australian Products | Ethical Clothing Australia 
Retailers | Ethical Clothing Australia

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