I signed a petition today to request better conditions for workers that big corporations exploit to make their stuff. I feel so strongly about it that I added a paragraph of my own to the standard text:
“The recent Fair Games? report shows that workers making your products continue to be employed in exploitative conditions. As a consumer, I wish to express my deep concern that your company is not doing enough to protect the human rights of workers making its goods. I urge you to do the following:
– Ensure that workers are paid a living wage allowing them to live in dignity. Changing your own purchasing practices and making the payment of living wages a central criterion when selecting suppliers is necessary.
– Provide job security through permanent, open-ended and direct employment
– Address the negative impacts of your business practices on working conditions, and use your sourcing contracts with suppliers and subcontractors to ensure better standards are upheld.
– Take a positive approach to trade union activities so that workers can have a voice in determining their pay and working conditions, vital to ending poverty and inequality.
As reports like Fair Games? keep appearing, It is important that you make more effort to be fully transparent about your business practices and inform the public about where your goods are made and the conditions they are made in.
This is my paragraph:
I would like to see you answering the individual needs of these workers who make your products and provide you with such huge profits that you can live in relative luxury. I’m sorry that you, currently, feel able to distance yourselves enough from these workers to treat them this way and I hope that you will soon feel okay enough about yourselves to make amends for this terrible situation over which you have a great deal of power. I wonder if you would still feel okay about the way these workers are treated if they were people you know – family members, like your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your aunt, your uncle, your niece, your nephew, your daughter, your son? Or perhaps you have little or no respect for your family, for whatever reason. Would you stand by and observe your friends being treated the way you treat your workers? Are you being treated with such callously cold disrespect that you are able to pass it on to those you consider beneath you? What do you need to do to enable yourselves to create enough self respect that you behave respectfully towards those in your employ?
Please will you write to let me know what changes you make?