The Month of Madness

16 03 2008

Out of all the months in the year August is undoubtedly the most hectic and mad for parents with school children, since its the last chance to grab those bargains on school uniforms, which can easily run up into their £100’s, especially through the prices nowadays for new school shoes – no wonder why the school uniform market in the United Kingdom is currently worth £450 million!

To make the purchase of new school uniforms more appealing, retailers across the United Kingdom fight to ensure that their prices are the lowest ones possible, effectively reducing their products and prices to the lowest common denomentor. Asda’s George label clearly illustrates this trend, since an entire uniform can now be purchased for as little as £9.96; consists of:

* Polo shirts – 75p
* Trousers – £1.75
* Skirts – £1.75
* Shoes – £4.50

Yet by making these prices possible for us, the consumers, ultimately has a direct consequence on others – the people who actually create the products themselves.

ActionAid’s investigation entitled Who Pays: The Real Cost of School Uniforms is particularly good at highlighting this problem; to view the video clip, simply press the ‘Play’ button below:

 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The key points from the video clip, I feel, are as followed: 

* 2 million women work in the clothes-making industry in Bangladesh.

* Standing all day is the norm, while getting told off by supervisors is common through beatings.

* Sick leave is allowed, only if you are willing to not get paid and in many cases get fired from the job.

* 5p an hour is the average wage for garment workers creating school uniforms.

* Long hours and poor wages mean that some workers only see their children twice(!!!) a year.

This certainly is disgraceful, considering how 5p transforms into a selling price in the pounds. It ultimately seems that many retailers are only interested in gaining a profit, not matter who they harm or exploit in the process. Something needs to be done and things need to change…

My next blog post will be a follow-up to this one, however instead of focusing on Bangladesh like the video did, Sri Lanka will be the focus of the study, since the exact same thing is happening there too. I will also try and suggest ways in which we can all help to try and stop this process from happening too.

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5 responses

17 03 2008
dolma

omg, 75p for a polo shirt!

28 03 2008
Annan

So what can people do to stop this? I mean, what if you need a school uniform, and all of the shops are only selling cheap uniforms that are made by these poor people? It’s so sad 😦

28 03 2008
Raadhika

I can’t believe that woman only sees her child twice a year. How does stuff like this happen? ActionAid sounds like a great way to help put an end to this. Will it mean that the cost of school uniforms will go up?

29 03 2008
Laurie

This is all so sad and horrible. I had no idea.

29 03 2008
Raadhika

This is very sad, I don’t know what to say either.

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