Showing posts with label globalisation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label globalisation. Show all posts

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Fighting for Bangladeshi women in Glasgow

Women and men from UK Feminista took to the high street to protest against the exploitation uncovered in factories supplying Nike. The actions, taking place outside Nike stores in London and Glasgow. The demonstrations are a response to new research published by War on Want which has uncovered the systematic violations of workers’ rights in Bangladeshi factories supplying garments for Nike, Puma and Adidas.

All factories visited were illegally employing staff for more than 60 hours a week, and five of the six failed to pay the legal minimal wage. Eighty five per cent of Bangladesh’s garment workers are women. 1 in 10 workers experiencing sexual harassment. Many are refused maternity rights or simply fired when discovered to be pregnant.

Low paid jobs are consistently filled by women. Women lack other employment opportunities due to poor access to education, and are affected by entrenched gender stereotypes around what constitutes ‘women’s work’. These include assumptions around their primary roles as carers rather than breadwinners, stereotyping women as supplementary earners and so excusing the payment of low wages. In this way firms like Nike are able to profit from gender inequality through utilising a cheap, female labour force subsidised by stereotypes.

The protest was not asking for boycott. Neither did it aim to ladle guilt onto women as consumers over where they shop. Instead it was a protest in solidarity with garment workers in Bangladesh which aims to spotlight the ability of firms like Nike to reap huge profits relies on gender inequality and demanded that Nike takes positive steps to end this.

Monday, May 26, 2008

A new International

Even in the 19th Century it w2as recognised that capitalism was a world wide system and that the working class required an international workers association to effectively resist the bosses .

Once again trade unions are recognising the global effects of the employers and are re-organising appropriately .

The Finiancial Times reports a historic alliance between Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, and the almost 1m-strong United Steelworkers union in North America is about to create the first transatlantic union, with more than 2.5m working members.

The move is designed to provide greater protection for workers whose jobs are threatened by the spread of global capitalism. The UK and US partners hope unions from other countries will join the alliance, increasing its strength.

Amicus had previously signed co-operation deals with USW and the International Association of Machinists in the US, and the IG Metall union in Germany, while the T&G had forged working relationships in the US with the Teamsters and SEIU, the services sector union.

Previous examples of cross-border union co-operation include T&G's support for the Teamsters' campaign against FirstGroup, the UK-based bus and train operator accused of frustrating attempts by unions to organise workers at its expanding US business.

"One of the main reasons for the merger between Amicus and the T&G was our desire to create an international trade union that would be able to deal with multinational companies on an equal footing and organise working people in even greater numbers," said Derek Simpson, Unite's joint general secretary last year."Multinational companies are pushing down wages and conditions for workers the world over by playing one national workforce off against another. The only beneficiaries of globalisation are the exploiters of working people and the only way working people can resist this is to organise and band together."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All very fishy

It sounds mad: shipping UK-caught langoustine thousands of miles to be processed, then back again to be turned into breaded scampi and put on sale. That's what leading seafood producer Young's started doing last year. We read :

The journey for the scampi that ends up on dinner plates and in pub baskets across the country starts in traditional style - the catch being landed by inshore fishing boats in ports like Stornoway. From there it is taken by lorry to the Scottish border town of Annan, which is where things start to change.
In the past the scampi was shelled by machine in Scotland. Now it is taken first to Grangemouth and loaded into containers, which are in effect giant freezers.
They are shipped to Rotterdam before being loaded onto a huge container ship alongside around 7,000 other containers for the long haul to Bangkok.
The key part of the process takes place in Thailand, as the langoustine are peeled by hand .
The long journey home from Bangkok takes the frozen, peeled langoustine through Rotterdam again before a short hop across the North Sea to Grimsby, where the scampi is breaded - and then delivered to our supermarkets and our plates.

The whole round-trip is about 17,000 miles (27,353km).

"They cover this up and distract it by saying it's carbon neutral, but in truth this is about minimising costs and maximising profits." says Willie Mackenzie of Greenpeace.

The motives of Youngs Seafoods is indeed exactly what Greenpeace claim , grubby lucre, and nothing at all to do with energy conservation or protecting the enviroment from CO2 emissions . The local workers cannot compete, even if, on Britain's minimum wage, with the Thai prawn-peelers who are paid 25p per hour.

The company announced 120 job cuts when it transferred scampi shelling operations to Thailand and leaves less than 50 workers at the Dumfries facility.

John Holroyd, of the T&G, said: “This is all about exploiting cheap labour abroad..."

Another company , Dawnfresh of Uddingston , in 2006 shed 70 staff to send Scottish prawns to China for shelling before being returned to the UK for sale.