Blog: Leonie BarrieSatire condemns 'sweatshop' brands

Leonie Barrie | 25 June 2010

How would you feel if you turned up on your first day at work, only to be told by your new boss that because you were a bit late, you wouldn't be paid any wages for that day? Or that you mustn't talk, answer back, complain, make any excuses, get pregnant or leave or eat at your desk? That your working day starts at 5.00 am for a standard 14-hour shift, with no lunch or toilet breaks? And that you'll get your first pay cheque in a couple of months?

A bit far-fetched in the western world, perhaps, but is all part of the abuse suffered by overseas workers producing goods for British supermarkets according to anti-poverty charity War on Want.

The group - whose research has shown workers making clothes in Bangladesh for Tesco and Asda earned as little as 7p an hour for up to 80-hour weeks - has launched new films which make fun of overseas sweatshops as part of its campaign for a watchdog to prevent UK supermarkets abusing suppliers' workers.

It's a serious subject, but one that serious campaigns have so far failed to eradicate. And the hope is that by turning the issue into a satire it'll be easier to get the message across that some workers' shameful pay and conditions are beyond a joke.

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