Friday, December 05, 2008


Slave Labour was used by the Nazis.

In 2006, War on Want (War On Want : ‘5p an hour.) reported:

Workers in Bangladesh are earning 5 pence (7 cents in US money) an hour, and working 80 hours a week, in potential death trap factories, to produce clothes for:

ASDA (part of WALMART)



In 2008, War on Want (‘Poverty clothes shame Primark’) reported:

In Bangladesh, workers making clothes for Primark, Asda and Tesco are now earning 7p an hour for up to 80-hour weeks.

The cost of living has risen sharply in Bangladesh.

So the workers making clothes in Bangladesh are now worse off than two years ago.

In Bangladesh, the price of low-quality rice has rocketed by 70 per cent.

And prices of other cooking items, including oil, onions, pulses, wheat and flour, have soared by 30-60 per cent.

Employees calculate a worker needs £44.82 (US $64) a month to give their family nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport.

Yet average workers’ pay, £19.16 (US $27) a month, is less than half a living wage.


The vast majority of employees live in small, crowded shacks, many of which lack plumbing and adequate washing facilities.

Ifat, who toils in a factory supplying all three retailers, said: “I can’t feed my children three meals a day.”

Runa, who makes Asda and Tesco clothes, is one of many young women forced by poverty to leave her rural home to earn money to send back to her family.

She said: “My pay is so meagre that I cannot afford to keep my child with me. I have sent my five-month old baby to the village to be cared for by my mother.”

Though forced overtime is illegal in Bangladesh, employees said they were made to toil extra hours, often unpaid.

Workers complained that in the fast fashion rush to produce the latest styles, many of them suffer verbal and physical abuse as they struggle to meet unrealistic targets.

Primark, Asda and Tesco all claim to respect the rights of its garment suppliers to join and form trade unions. But Dhaka workers said none of their factories was unionised.

War on Want is demanding that the British government introduce regulation which ensures a living wage for overseas suppliers and allows exploited staff to seek justice in UK courts.

Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at the charity, said: “Primark, Asda and Tesco promise a living wage for their garment makers. But workers are actually worse off than when we exposed their exploitation two years ago. The UK government must bring in effective regulation to stop British companies profiting from abuse.”


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