Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Industry

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Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Industry

Postby General Mackevili » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:11 am

So, if "Freedom Park" is still closed down and not allowing protests, what other choice do you have to express your outrage?

Throw a fashion show, of course!

Image

About 300 garment workers, NGO staff, civil servants and media staged a “fashion show” at the United Sisterhood Alliance-Worker’s Information Center (US-WIC) in Phnom Penh on May 25, called “Beautiful Clothes, Ugly realities”.

As the Cambodian government still bans its opponents from using Freedom Park for protests, the fashion show was seen as a new, creative way of getting across our message.

Realising that if they are silenced by fear and don't take action, there is no possibility of change for in their lives, Cambodian garment workers confidently took to the catwalk carrying giant US$100 notes which they then tore up.

They then placed the torn strips into different boxes labelled “food”, “water”, “electricity”, “utility”, “transport” and “health” to make the point they are not paid enough to survive.

To meet their basic needs and to support their families, Cambodian garment workers have to work long hours of overtime.

In another scene, the garment workers re-enacted this violent suppression, which took place on Veng Sreng Boulevard in January. A garment workers' strike for a minimum wage of $160 a month was violently suppressed by the Cambodian government. Four workers were shot dead.

Just two days before the shootings, the government raised the minimum wage for textile and garment workers from $85 to $100 a month still not enough to live on.

Cambodian garment workers produce hundreds of thousands of items of clothing each day for export to the US, Europe and other parts of the world. Just two big brand companies make billions of dollars profits from their work and pay their CEOs huge salaries and bonuses. The CEO salaries of just two of these companies, GAP Inc and H&M, are equal to the combined wages of about 700,000 Cambodia textile and garment workers.

At a meeting of garment companies, global unions and government officials at the Cambodian government's “Peace Building” on May 26, there was no detailed discussion, commitment to resolve the dispute, or respond to the demand for a minimum wage of $160 a month. There was just more avoiding of responsibility and blaming workers.

There was no commitment from any of the parties that would deliver on promises to ensure job security, fair wages and decent working and living conditions for garment workers.

The final message from the garment worker’s “fashion show” was that they want fair wages for fair work not bullets.

[Ros Sokunthy is an activist for Focus on Global South-Cambodia, a partner of the United Sisterhood Alliance.]

..click link to continue reading...

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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby milkncereal » Mon Jun 02, 2014 3:24 am

smart girls
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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby Flynn » Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:34 am

Video of the event:


http://vimeo.com/96797296
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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby picooie » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:53 pm

Good for those girls. The garment workers deserve more money.

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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby General Mackevili » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:03 pm

picooie wrote:Good for those girls. The garment workers deserve more money.

picooie
Out of curiosity, what amount would you think is fair?
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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby picooie » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:31 pm

Number on I am very anti union. In the USA unions were good at one point but now they do more harm than good. The starting wage in China is $250.00 for unskilled workers. $120 to $140.00 does not seem unreasonable for Cambodian factory workers. The problem is if they get a raise everyone will want a raise like the police, civil servants, the army etc etc etc. It is a sticky wicket for the powers that be. It would be smarter to give the workers a decent raise and not have the unions. the unions will cause all kinds of problems at least in my opinion.

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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby Garry.Crabtree » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:50 pm

I for once can speak from experience here. I have owned/started/sold and invested in numerous mass production types of business here in Cambodia. Most with a staffing of 500 to 1,500 of unskilled girls.

There are only two reasons that any of my businesses have had an advantage over China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam and they are both financial.

First, the working wage here is only 25-30% of China but lets not forget that productivity is also 50% below that of China. Therefore there is a direct saving to be made by coming to Cambodia in lower wages.

The second part s the QUIP status, (Qualified Investor Project) this entitles you to a 4 year tax window which means massive savings on importing of raw materials and exporting the finish product. Plus no tax on profit for 4 years.

To me, Cambodia is at a crossroads as sooner or later the wages will increase and other countries will reduce their taxation systems to be more pro-business. Unfortunately, we will always have a race to the bottom but with clever management and stewardship, Cambodia might just navigate themselves through it.
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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby picooie » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:41 pm

Gary,

I export from this country and I have to say if you do not get all of those government benefits Cambodia is one of the most business unfriendly places I have ever been.Exporting out of this country is a total rip off unless you are a large fish.

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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby Garry.Crabtree » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:53 pm

Not sure if I can be classed as a large fish but I'veI never had any issues exporting from Cambodia.

I usually export 20 TEU per month which is small fry compared to some of the larger factories. Its not easy or straightforward but I pay my khmers very well IF AND WHEN they can produce the goods and we meet our clients deadlines. To me you need to put the best Khmer staff you can find, into the right places. I have khmers earning 5K a pcm so I expert them to work damn hard and make sure my container never gets held up or misses the boat.
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Re: Beautiful Fashion Show; Ugly Reality about Textile Indus

Postby picooie » Thu Jun 05, 2014 5:29 pm

Garry,

That is still pretty big in my book. Cambodia offers no incentives to export unless you are greasing palms. If you are just doing a few containers a year it is one of the more expensive places on the planet.

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