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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 August 2010

Asda profiting from low pay

A DAMNING report was issued recently by the charity ActionAid on the "deplorable" pay and working conditions of Bangladeshi factory workers employed by British supermarket Asda - a subsidiary of US conglomerate Wal-Mart which makes 45 million a day in profit.

Wal-Mart/Asda pays on average less than one pound a day in wages to its garment workers in Bangladeshi factories, who are mostly women with children, and who have to work long hours.

ActionAid says that this rate of pay is equal to just 25% of the basic cost of living of the average Bangladeshi mother, and as a result many over-worked women are struggling to feed their children.

This means that the company's profits are directly taken out of the pockets of the poorest people on the planet, and out of the mouths of the world's poorest children.

The reason why companies like Asda can provide clothes so cheaply is because its costs are low due to garment workers' wages being below the poverty line.

"Asda claims to be a family friendly supermarket but there's a dark side to its operations. Families are being kept in poverty because Asda's wages are so low," said ActionAid's policy advisor.

In response Asda claims that it has been trying to improve the poor treatment of its workers in the Indian subcontinent, which begs the question: Why are they so disgracefully exploited in the first place? The answer, as usual with capitalist corporations, is profit.

Dave Younger

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