Human rights matter more and more in business [News]
By Thomas Thomas, TODAY, 28 May 2013.
It has been just over a month since the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killed 1,127 people, most of whom were lowly-paid factory workers. Barely three weeks later, closer to home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the roof of the factory manufacturing Asics sports shoes gave way, killing three workers.
Beyond the loss of lives, what is more unfortunate is the recurrence of such incidents time and again.
Last year, more than 400 workers perished in three separate garment factory fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In all three cases, the factories lacked fire extinguishers, had poorly designed fire escape routes or owners who had locked the escape routes.
These tragedies underscore the poor working conditions many factory workers in developing countries still face on a daily basis. And while these incidents occurred outside Singapore, we must not live in the belief that all corporations here are above board.
Singapore’s labour laws ensure that a minimum level of standards must be met; however, there have been instances where companies have not performed up to par. Instances, for example, where migrant workers who lack collective bargaining power are exploited because they are ignorant of the local laws and of employees who suffer physical or verbal abuse at the workplace that go unreported.
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