ISLAMABAD: This refers to Syed Mohammad Ali’s article titled ‘Can consumers alone end labour exploitation?’ published on July 28th. Mr Ali has brought an interesting angle to the countrywide outrage that began on social media against a popular clothing brand after its consumers learnt that it was involved in labour exploitation. As Mr Ali mentioned, is consumer outrage alone enough to end such malpractices that are so rampant throughout different industries across the world? Perhaps, not.
Just as the writer pens “Ultimately, it is not the responsibility of consumers to ensure worker rights, or even to ensure environmental sustainability. Such outcomes require much broader efforts such as the implementation of labour and environmental laws, better labour inspections, regularisation of the informal sector and encouraging workers’ unionisation, which must be promoted more assertively by governments and relevant international agencies, like the WTO and the ILO.” But the real question is: Are these agencies or governments interested in looking into this exploitation, considering that they also hugely benefit from this capitalistic profit-driven market? Who will hold them accountable and bring the change?
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2017.