Monday, March 04, 2013

Living Off Of Such Sweet Nothing

It's not uncommon to hear about TTC workers, university and college teacher's  going on strike nowadays. They claim they don't get paid enough, and usually get a raise or some kind of incentive as a result. The average TTC salary is thirty dollars an hour, and according to, the average hourly pay for a fulltime professor is twenty-five dollars. But what happens to people that aren't happy with their pay in underdeveloped countries? The answer is simple: They have to live with it.

            Workers in underdeveloped countries (eighty to ninety percent being women) make an average of ten to twenty cents an hour. If they are not being paid hourly, they are being paid for how many products they create. This in tune does not leave time for breaks and workers are often forced to work overtime, aside from working a typical sixteen hour shift a day. These conditions take place in the commonly known sweatshops.

            Being forced to work overtime isn't the only downfall. Breaks (if any) are scheduled  twice a day, deadlines are strict, and quite often there is mental, physical, and sexual abuse that comes into play. The scariest part is that children are among these workers.'s statistics state that the average child labour workers are between the ages of five to fifteen years old and that many struggle to live past the age of fifteen due to unrealistic labour hours and living conditions. So why can't  they quit? Why can't they create a strike until they receive fair pay and conditions? Many whom complain get fired from their jobs, and this causes them to be unable to support their families. Their low salaries make a difference between survival or death; they rely on these jobs to live. As for fighting for their rights, labour workers have been arrested for speaking up and even killed on most occasions. The documentary on Nike's sweatshop is an excellent example of that.

            Giving underpaid employment opportunities is not enough. Yes, labour workers in underdeveloped countries could be enduring much worse. They could be working dangerous and more difficult jobs for even less than twenty cents an hour. But why does it have to be so low? It's quite clear that businesses and factories aren't charities, and that they must profit in some sort of way. Therefore, increasing wages would not be ideal. But then there are companies such as Nike and Apple that are selling millions upon millions of products every year, while workers that manually put together products make pennies. Statistic number six on states that consumers concerned with this issue would pay fifteen percent more for their products if it meant that they wouldn't be coming out of sweatshops. Shockingly, to increase the average labour worker wages, products would need to be priced under two percent more than average price. That's less than what consumers would expect!

            So what needs to be done? Awareness about this ongoing issue needs to be spread globally. If people are aware of this issue, they would think twice about buying a cheap item and would be proud of purchasing products that are moderately priced or higher. This would result in an equal workforce, and better yet, labour workers will be receiving the pay they deserve.

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