By MELISSA WELLHAM
When I walk into pretty much any cheap Australian clothing chain: I am torn.
On the one hand, I think, “Oh my god, that embellished sequin top is so cheap!”
On the other hand I think, “But do I really need yet another cheap embellished sequin top?”
And then on my third hand, which I pull out whenever dealing with ethical conundrums, I think, “But how on earth can this top possibly cost so little? Where are these clothes being made? What are these people being paid?”
In an exposé on 60 Minutes last Sunday night, in which reporters and cameramen were given unprecedented access into clothing factories in Bangladesh, we found out: not much.
According to the report, in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, there are about 5000 garment factories churning out clothes. Millions of items of clothing, being made for as little as one dollar. Unfortunately, that is usually how much the workers are being paid each day.
One factory featured on 60 Minutes created one million t-shirts for Kmart each month. Each of these factories employs thousands of people. And many of these factories, are making clothes for Australian retailers.
These workers might be earning as little as a dollar a day, for 12 hours work. The best paid workers that the 60 Minutes team came across were earning $100 a month.
Even though the cost of living in Bangladesh does not compare to Australia, this salary is not significant And these workers often have to pay about half their wages to local landlords to rent small, concrete rooms close to the factories.