WalMart and GAP refuse liability for workers in their sweatshops

Democracy Now
May 15, 2013

The retail giant Wal-Mart has been tied to the collapsed Bangladeshi industrial building where more than 1,100 workers died last month. The New York Times reports documents found in the rubble show a contractor had hired one of the building’s factories to produce jeans for Wal-Mart stores. The contract was over a year old, and Wal-Mart maintains it was not using the factory when the collapse occurred. On Tuesday, Wal-Mart reaffirmed its rejection of a plan requiring firms that profit from low wages in Bangladesh to help pay for fire safety and building improvements at factories. Wal-Mart says it is conducting its own safety review of its Bangladeshi factories and will post the results in six months. On Tuesday, six more companies, including Carrefour, Marks & Spencer and El Corte Inglés, signed on to the plan, which requires companies to conduct independent safety inspections, pay for repairs and end dealings with factories that refuse to improve safety. In addition to Wal-Mart, another major U.S. retailer, Gap, is refusing to adopt the plan unless it drastically reduces the liability of companies found to be in violation. In response, the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent monitor, said: “Gap’s demand is that the agreement be made unenforceable — and therefore meaningless.”

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What are we going to do when we run out of third-world nations to pillage cheap labor for our shitty products sitting on shelves at your local Target and Walmart??? How can this be shocking news as well? We, the consumers, all over the planet (not just Americans), have helped create this monster – the same thirst for material shared with the corporations marking up their products 10 fold or more. Overt slavery was abolished to only, what, a century later(?), to have this, covert sort happening now. In the U.S. we have lost our industry and have a plantation-based economy where most job growth is low-wage positions selling these same products or low paying security guard jobs. Many European nations are teetering on the brink. The same will happen in China. And then, the next domino after Vietnam and Bangladesh will need to be found for cheap labor. Make no mistake about it, the only way this absurdity can continue is if there always exists a serf class, somewhere, which can be exploited. 
Welcome to globalism. Where corporate greed rules and corporations do and go where they want.
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