Janice of The Vivienne Files has already written about this emotive topic, and I was interested in one of the comments made by someone called Anonymous:
"This 'they wouldn't have any jobs' argument is so colonial, looking down on people."
I beg to differ. My belief is that those of us who have bought cheap clothing in the past have indirectly contributed to this terrible tragedy, so we have a responsibility to try and improve the situation by buying wisely in future. However if we just boycott companies like Primark and Joe Fresh, who are we helping? We should be lobbying these companies to face up to their responsibilities and say that we won't buy their clothes until they do so.
I live in Spain, where unemployment is very high and many families are struggling to survive. This is mainly the result of the recession and the collapse of the building trade, leading to the loss of many jobs. If people in Bangladesh need these jobs, the solution is to improve their working conditions, pay them a decent wage and not complain about the resulting increased prices in our shops. I hope that I'm not being colonial if I say that I don't want job losses in Bangladesh that will mean families there are having to struggle too.
|More than 360 people are known to have died here|
Marks and Spencer
Dear Ms Walker
Thanks for taking the time to contact us after the tragedy in Dhaka. I would like to reassure you that the quality of life for anyone producing M&S products is very important to us.
We set the same standards for quality and working conditions regardless of where our products are made.
All of our suppliers are expected to meet our Global Sourcing Principles, and to encourage their own suppliers to implement them. This requires our suppliers to comply with national laws and to work towards the international labour laws contained in the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code.
Our Global Sourcing Principles promote the right to freedom of association, requiring that workers are free to join lawful trade unions or workers’ associations, and the payment of national minimum wage. Any new suppliers who we conduct business with have to pass our audits on key issues such as underage labour, pay, working hours and health and safety.
If you would like to view the full details of our Global Sourcing Principles, or to see the results of our supplier audits in our annual How We Do Business report, they can be found on our website: www.marksandspencer.com.
I hope this information has reassured you that as a company we are committed to the highest standards of ethical trading for our workers and suppliers both in the UK and abroad.
Dear Ms Walker
Thank you for your enquiry.
We take special care in selecting partners who share our concern for the environment and adhere to their local and national laws regarding the protection and preservation of the environment.
We also require that all of our products be manufactured in environments that are safe and comply with all local rules and regulations.
Our commitments to Social Responsibility can be found on our website (www.landsend.co.uk) and by clicking on 'Social Responsibility' at the bottom of the homepage.
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
I hope that you will follow my example and contact the retailers where you buy your clothes from. Also don't assume that the mid-cost fashion retailers aren't guilty in this respect: ask them the same questions.
I would be interested in any other ideas that you may have to ensure that cheap fashion no longer comes at such a cost.