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Kho Yong Xiang, Sherwin Lau, Lee Shien Yang, Kenneth Koong, Koh Han Quan, Seah Ying Cong. Why the NLC was set up. Extent to which companies seek cheap labor In sweatshops. A moral crisis of the 21 st century. Dehumanization of global workforce. … has led to.

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Why the NLC was set up

Extent to which companies seek cheap labor

In sweatshops

A moral crisis of the 21st century...

Dehumanization of global workforce

… has led to

“The struggle for rule of law in the global economy--to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of the millions of workers producing goods for the U.S. market--has become the great new civil rights movement of our time.”


“As [the workers] fight for the rights to work in dignity, in healthy and safe workplaces and to earn a living wage, we will work with them to provide international visibility and backing for their efforts--and to press for international legal frameworks with effective enforcement mechanisms that will help create a space where fundamental internationally recognized worker rights can be assured.”

views on a worker s right
Views on a worker’s right

“The National Labour Committee views worker rights in the global economy as indivisible and inalienable human rights and we believe that now is the time to secure them for ALL on the planet.”






40 Countries

why we support the national labor committee
Why we support the National Labor Committee
  • Clear and justified stance
  • Highly focused scope: Foreign factories supplying American goods
  • Principle of enabling self-help by fighting to set up self-monitoring organisations
  • Suitable modus operandi
    • Direct collection of information in situ
    • First-person sources such as interview with workers and documents smuggled out from the factories
criticism of nlc
Criticism of NLC
  • “US$57 is almost 400 RMB, not that low for an unskilled worker in China”

“Big on anecdotes, low on stats”

  • “Claims workers earn a take-home wage of US$57 in one report and claiming that workers are “being paid $84.48 per month rather than $112.64” in another report”

Ideological biases

  • “legal minimum wages... does not come close to meeting subsistence-level needs”. But how close?

Selective biases

  • “Allegations of human rights infringements by computer peripherals manufacturer in Dongguan”

Transnational Companies, with their sprawling international empire, is difficult to regulate

  • Even if headquarters are willing, enforcing worker rights in developing countries, is a tall order.
  • But TNCs are only the tip of the iceberg
  • Many sweatshops are operated by small-time operators with little incentive for accountability
  • For these small companies, profit is purely determined by output, not its brand
  • No incentive to improve working conditions even after media exposure
  • Inadequacy of media
  • Media coverage can only expose that many factories
  • Explains its focus on TNC (maximize the bang for the news)
  • Actual problem of workers exploitation is much more rampant than the news would have us believe
  • “In 150 countries around the world, over 2 million people, many of t hem young women andteenagers, work in garment sweatshops producing for American retailers. About 80 percent of apparel workers producing clothing for U.S. retailers are working under conditions that systematically violate local and international labor law.” US Retailer Report
  • What NLC has done has merely scratched the surface

If we make any mistakes, they beat us, they scold us.

We cannot go to the bathrooms when we want to go.

I can go (to the bathroom) 2 or 3 times a day… they will monitor how long we take.

I brush my teeth with ashes

Sumon is a junior machine operator at the Harvest Rich factory where he sews Hanes underwear and pajamas.

If he does not make 120 pieces of Hanes underwear an hour, he is subjected to physical abuse.

He is paid just 15 cents an hour. $1.21 a day.

walt disney violated workers rights
Walt Disney – Violated workers’ rights?
  • Work 7 days/week
  • 10 hours daily
  • 17 cents/hour
  • In 2002, 200 female workers hospitalized due to exposure to acetone.
  • Workers stitch Aladdin t-shirts for 28 cents hourly
  • Other sweatshops offer child workers lower salaries.
nlc s actions
NLC’s actions

Govt. actions

Campaigned to improve Disney’s production facilities worldwide & Raise awareness of this issue

American Congress asked to ban/procure products made with sweatshop labour

Appeal failed

Gained media and government attention

People started to boycott Disney’s products Criticize Disney

d k garments
D.K Garments
  • 150 foreign workers with

- 14-15 hours of work daily

- 7a.m. to 10p.m

- receiving one day off every four months

- 3.3 minutes given to sew each bikini, for which they are paid 4 cents


how can americans be part of the action

How canAmericansbe part of the action?

Increase public awareness

Local government