Myanmar Garment Makers

OxfamFrom Sweatshop to Switzerland

A recent Oxfam survey has revealed exploitation of workers in Myanmar’s garment industry. Reflecting on his reent visit to Myanmar Oxfam’s Head of Global Campaigns, Max Lawson, writes:

“Myanmar’s garment sector is expanding fast, now employing around 300,000 people – 90% female and mostly under-25. Daily average wages of $2.80 are not enough to survive on…almost half of garment workers are trapped in debt and have to borrow money to meet basic needs like food, medicine and transport. They work up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, rarely receiving sick pay despite this being a legal requirement. Many reported working into the night to meet impossible production targets, on one occasion sewing until 6.30am before restarting at 7.30am every day for a week. Safety was a big concern, with one in three reporting a workplace injury and many afraid of factory fires because of blocked exits.”

In the week Oxfam representatives visited Myanmar an Oxfam’s report, ‘An Economy for the 1%’, caused a stir at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, revealing that 62 billionaires now own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. The report shows that the global economic system is skewed in favour of the top 1%, who have seen half of the total increase in global wealth in the past 15 years, while the bottom 50% have had to make do with just 1%. Read more…

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