Fair Trade Principle Seven: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 | Joanna
Working conditions for some workers in the global south can be terrible. Working for long hours, in hot, dusty or cramped conditions takes its toll on workers' physical and mental health.
The reason it is so important for fair trade suppliers to visit their production facilities is so that they can keep an eye on the working conditions. It is even more useful when they are able to speak to the workers in their own language. Suppliers have told me about inspections where they found the packaging for brand new dust masks and protective eyewear in the bin, meaning that the protective equipment was only brought out to impress the inspectors. Needless to say, they did not place any orders at that factory. Our toy supplier speaks fluent Sinhalese and so she is able to communicate directly with the workers. She found out that, while a toilet was provided for workers - the manager had already proudly pointed it out - it had been broken for as long as anyone could remember and the workers had to nip home in the middle of their shift if they needed the loo!
Fair trade is a partnership and it's important that the people who make the products we love are treated respectfully at work.