Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sweatshop sleeping accommodations

These young guys who migrated from all over India work in a tailoring shop in Mumbai. Though they work 16 hours a day stitching clothes they don’t earn enough money to rent rooms to live in & are forced to sleep on top of each other in the workshop.

We aren’t told if they’re stitching for foreign retailers or the local elite but the sale price of one garment would likely pay the rent to live like human beings. We are told a local NGO lectures them on the TB risks of sleeping together in such cramped quarters. If the NGO shut its trap & listened to these workers they’d probably learn a thing or two themselves--about indignity & exploitation, about unsafe work conditions & the need for unions. Being poor doesn’t make you stupid. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the sweatshop catastrophes in Bangladesh & elsewhere, it is that being unorganized does make you weak. Building unions is the first step in opposing sweatshops--& affording a room of your own.

(Photo by David Rochkind)

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