Global companies such as McDonald’s, Samsung, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Puma, and Umbro are generating billions of dollars in annual revenues.
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However, their success is founded on unfair labor practices. All of these companies outsource manufacturing and production operations to third-world poor countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Citizens of these countries are paid less than 2 dollars per 9-hour working day. They face exploitation, work under unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, experience physical violence and verbal harassment from their employees. Unfair labor practices violate human rights, however, the international giants continue to exploit the cheap workforce, abuse workers, force them to work overtime, fire for refusal and disobedience, and prevent the formation of unions. Slavery has been abolished many decades ago; however, multinational corporations keep it alive at their plants and factories abroad.
Unfair labor practices
According to the research, the vast majority of companies who outsource manufacturing to poor countries violate fundamental human rights. Fatima, a 22-year-old young woman, is working for a factory in Indonesia, and she reports having many health problems (diarrhea, back pains, and headaches) because of bad air, long hours of work without rest, water, and food (Lilley 1). Mongkol, a worker in Thailand, reports that his daughter is fifteen years old; she does not attend school and works in a factory in Bangkok (Kristof and WuDunn 1). She is paid $2 for a 9-hour working day, six days a week. These examples reveal that the basic human rights of workers are not protected. Companies with global names violate international laws prohibiting child labor and promote unhealthy working conditions.
In addition, the labor practices of many companies are based on threats. As a Turkish garment worker reports, workers fear going on strikes and demanding better working conditions or higher payments because they are threatened by supervisors. Managers tell their workers that those workers who decide to strike will immediately lose their jobs (Lilley 1). Workers in Thailand believe that the payment of $2 a day is high enough to value their job and remain obedient. They simply have no other choice. Mongkol from Thailand does not realize that his 15-year-old daughter is exploited.
On the contrary, he notes that he does not “know what she would do then” (Kristof and WuDunn 1) if the factory is closed. Workers in China, for example, strive to work overtime with the hope to get paid more, while managers perceive it as “annoying how hard they want to work” (Kristof and WuDunn 1) and care about the security of their factory instead of rewarding the hard work.
Moreover, unfair labor practices contribute to further impoverishment of third-world countries. Every year more than 3 million Indian children die before the age of 5 (Kristof and WuDunn 1) because of diseases caused by poverty. Their parents are not able to afford basic nutrition and sanitary. Such companies as MacDonald’s Corporation seem to take care of the emotional and financial wellbeing of their employees, however, workers are not entitled to organize unions (Schlosser 564). While employees at MacDonald’s can expect protection of human rights, workers employed in factories in China, Thailand, and Bangladesh do not have any rights at all and are treated as slaves.
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In conclusion, the protection of human rights is not provided equally and international organizations are blind to the evident unfair labor practices applied by powerful multinational corporations in third world countries. Undoubtedly, $2 a day is perceived as a high payment by workers in poor countries because they have no other choice. Nevertheless, the exploitation of the human workforce should not be left unnoticed. Every person has the right to respectful treatment, healthy and safe working conditions, and fair payment.