A living wage, by definition, means that the workers receive enough money to provide for themselves and their family. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 23 states:
“Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration
ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity,
and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.”
Despite this clear definition, most of the world’s garment workers live a life of poverty. This is because the legal minimum wage in garment-producing countries is far below the living wage, and the gap continues to grow as consumers demand cheaper clothing and the cost of living rises. The daily challenges for workers living in poverty is not limited to a lack of money. Other problems include a low calorific intake, limited access to health services, lack of social security, lack of decent housing, limited access to education and limited cultural and political life. One example of a country where the minimum wage falls far below the living wage is China, where the minimum wage is only £147.37 and the living wage is as much as £317.43. This means that workers would...
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...s that they are hidden and are often cramped and dangerous and the responsibility to provide workers with protective equipment is often neglected. One of the world’s largest denim exporters is Turkey with approximately 300,000 people working in the denim industry and around 30% of these people working with sandblasting. This was the first place where silicosis was identified as a problem for the garment industry;
“The first two textile workers to be diagnosed with silicosis were
two men aged 18 and 19… Both men died shortly after being diagnosed.”
These men had begun working at ages 13 and 14, working eleven hours a day for 5 years with no windows or ventilation and only a face mask for protection. How would you feel about your son working in those conditions at that, or any, age? Is it worth it to make your jeans look old and worn before you’ve even out them on?
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