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19 Dez 2022

Emily Dugan, The Guardian (UK)

How big brands like Tesco are drawn to ‘wild west of global supply chain’

Hundreds of factories surround the border city of Mae Sot in the far west of Thailand. It is so close to Myanmar that at times the bombs of the civil war can be heard from its centre.

Almost all the garment factories here rely on the flow of cheap Burmese labour fleeing war and economic hardship. Their hard work, willingness to accept pay well below the Thai minimum wage and a lack of legal rights make them an attractive prospect for factories trying to cut costs. And the sale price of what they produce on these tiny wages attracts big brands. ...

Now, after years of terrible wages and conditions, a small group of workers are beginning to force that change.

The 130 Burmese former workers at VK Garments (VKG) who are taking legal action in England against Tesco are part of a bigger trend to take on the brands making profits from their labour. ...

Welsh believes that subcontracting in areas where the workforce is known to be vulnerable needs to be challenged. “No brands own their own factories. They deliberately subcontract in places where conditions are terrible and the rule of law is bad. This creates the legal fiction that they bear no responsibility for those conditions when in fact they are a driving force in allowing them to persist.”