The Guardian recently carried a story about Cambodian garment workers:
There are regular stories in the Phnom Penh Post about the campaigns by and on behalf of garment factory workers in Cambodia. Here’s one from today.. in fact there’s one every day!
It’s a great case of how complex today’s world. Of course, it’s definitely better that these women have the work than that they don’t, and so much of Cambodia’s foreign earnings now comes from the cheap labour and nimble fingers of the women who work in them, but on the other hand it’s just not fair that they who work the hardest, in the poorest conditions, profit least from the trade, with factory owners / govt middle men / shipping companies / retailers all getting their much larger share of the money which avid European consumers spend in the shops. If we’re interested in fair trade at all, we should be interested in improving their working conditions and pay. It seems that putting pressure on the retailers at this end, who call the shots on this, is the best way of doing that.
Here’s H&M’s social conscience site and contact details: H&M
Gap’s ‘social responsibility’ webpages are unavailable but here is their contact information: Gap UK
Why don’t you drop them a line and let them know you care?