Consumer Goods & Textiles
As many as 3,500 Bangladeshi workers are reported to have been suspended or fired for taking part in protests against sweatshop wages at garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka over the last six weeks. Dozens have been thrown in jail amid a major police crackdown on the organizers.
For nearly six years Ramatex Textile and Garment Factory barred government regulators from entering industrial premises leased from the City of Windhoek. Ramatex came to Namibia in 2001, lured by the newly implemented African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Evidence of environmental violations finally emerged after the company absconded.
Multinationals like Benetton have tried to distance themselves from Rana Plaza, a Bangladeshi building housing five clothing factories, that collapsed last week killing over 400. Activists argue that change will only come when workers get more political support to challenge them.
Some 40,000 workers in seven Yue Yuen shoe factories in Dongguan city, China, went on strike last month to successfully demand that their employer make pension payments required under the law.
SportsDirect, a British sports merchandise retailer, has been accused of employing workers in sweatshop like conditions by Channel Four Dispatches, a UK TV program. The broadcaster aired undercover footage shot by a reporter at the company's Shirebrook warehouse in northern England.
Kalevala, a 19th century epic poem from Finland, was inspired by traditional verses from the ancient forests on the border of central Finland and Russia. Today some of the 600 year old trees around the Kalevala national park are being chopped up to make cheap furniture for Ikea, according to activists.
Shopping in a Target store, you know you're not in Wal-Mart. But, critics say that in terms of working conditions, sweatshop-style foreign suppliers, and effects on local retail communities, big box Target stores are very much like Wal-Mart, just in a prettier package.
Walmart is coming under increased scrutiny for its ties to a garment factory in Dhaka where 112 workers were trapped and killed in a fire in late November 2012. The company, which buys $1 billion in clothing a year from Bangladesh, initially tried to deny any connection.
At least four people were killed when Cambodian police opened fire on a garment workers protest in Canadia Industrial Park in Phnom Penh. The workers were demanding a minimum wage of $154 a month from employers who supply Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands as well as H&M.