Not All Lives are Equal

The reports of a fire in a Bangladesh garment factory in which more than a hundred people – probably 124, with more than a hundred injured – were killed shocked but did not surprise.  Fires such as this are not unusual in South Asia, and indeed as The Guardian pointed out, one in Karachi in September killed over 280. We get cheap clothing at a high price for those who make it.

© 2012, Peter Marshall
War on Want hand out ‘Exploitation – Not OK Anywhere leaflets outside
Olympic Sponsor Adidas on Oxford St

Campaigns such as War on Want‘s Love fashion – hate sweatshops, No Sweat and the Clean Clothes Campaign have been fighting for years along with trade unions and labour rights organisations around the world – including Bangladesh – to get decent working conditions and pay in the clothing trade, but their actions are undermined by both local employers who exploit their workers (and often evade or ignore what laws there are about safety and conditions) and by multinational companies that demand goods at ever lower costs and fail to insist that the products they buy are produced under acceptable conditions – though their PR often tells a different story.

It’s worth reading the thoughts of Shahidul Alam from Bangladesh in Not all lives are equal, which includes some disturbing images. The site also has links to reports on the tragic fire from The Guardian and the BBC. There is also a statement about the case on the Clean Clothes Campaign site.

You can see more pictures from the August protest at Adidas on My London Diary, as well as those from several other actions against shop selling sweated clothes.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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