Sunday, 11 October 2009

Made in China, Sweatshop Britain and Royal Mail!

I went shopping yesterday. I bought some pants, two different brands, both made in China.I bought some socks, again two different brands again both made in China.I bought a belt - made in China of course.
I couldn't seem to buy anything that wasn't made in China.
Everything nowadays seems to be made in China - or Vietnam is apparently another popular place for manufacturing at the moment.
I can of course see the attraction for big business to the likes of China what with it's sweatshops paying pennies to people working long unregulated hours in poor conditions to manufacture goods that they then sell on to us for ££££££££££'s.
Strange as this may seem I've drawn a parallel between sweatshop China and the current Royal Mail dispute (see a previous post for a postman's - mine - view of events). In Britain, Trades Unions have fought for years to end sweatshop practices (it's not that long ago after all that we were sending children down the mines, into the mills and up chimneys etc), but as I say we've stopped all of that now. We've moved on and secured decent pay and conditions for the average working man and stopped child labour of course.
What we have going on in this country at the moment is I believe an all out attack (by big business) on the working man (I'm starting to sound like a Socialist here - a right wing Socialist? Hasn't that been tried by someone before?). Anyhow, Royal Mail are a perfect example of this attack. They are slowly but surely getting rid of all the full time postmen and replacing them with part timers on twenty five hour contracts.
All postmen are now bullied into working forced and unpaid overtime. The pension fund has been decimated - and put out of bounds to new starters as has sick pay etc. There are people who work forty hours every week doing a forty hour job (and are paid forty hours) but only have a twenty hour contract so in effect when they are on holiday they only have half pay!
When you point this out to a lot of people they say 'welcome to the real world - we all have to put up with that so stop moaning and get on with it'!
To these people who are knocking the so called lazy greedy postmen I say 'Wake Up! Don't put up with it yourselves - fight back. The big corporations would like us all to be working for peanuts so that they get richer'.
When Royal Mail and the government defeat the postmen and the CWU (I'm no great fan of some of the activities of the CWU but on this issue they're right) which I fear they will then we will be one step closer to sweatshop Britain.
In years to come maybe instead of Made in China everything will have Made in Britain on it - and in prosperous China people will look at the goods and sympathise with the poor British workers working long unregulated hours in poor conditions manufacturing goods for pennies to sell to the affluent East for (Chinese) ££££££££££££££££££££££'s!!!


James Higham said...

That last paragraph is so chilling because it is so realistic.

Dr. Dave said...

Excellent analysis. I think you can throw the states in there too. It's incredibly disconcerting to know that my children have no chance for prosperity precisely because the government doesn't want them to succeed.

Martyn Findley said...

Excellent post.

We recently returned from a holiday to Florida. Every gift that we saw was made in China. I actually spent time looking for one that wasn't but to no avail.

Anonymous said...

Things made in China may be cheap but what about the quality? Ever brought a made in china screwdriver set? You can still by tools made in Britain that will literally last a lifetime. Britain is still inventive but must patent things fiercly, imagine if we had done that with the television set. Added a banner to my blog

Mo said...

Sadly this rings true here in America too. Few see quality as an important virtue, fewer still will pay for it and even fewer are capable of producing it. A very sad state - one that is unsustainable. A wise friend of mine told me "vote with your dollars." He is right, it is the only thing that will make a difference.

MK said...

The problem is that all those benefits and entitlements that we in the west like to have cost money that we don't want to pay.

We all want pension and sick leave and annual leave and all that, but we don't want to pay for it. If companies in china were forced like ours are to provide all these, their prices would go up too. Business in the west is forced to pay all this and they have to pass those costs on to others.

It's not entirely the fault of business, it's in their nature to chase profit, after all would you give your money to a bank/business if they did not return more than you gave.

We ourselves must share the blame too, we want cheap TVs, pots, pans furniture, clothes etc, but there's a cost to that, there always is.