Modern Day slavery

Modern Day Slavery

July 2019

One definition of slavery is:

"A condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation."

Not that long in the UK a company would source materials from home and abroad and then manufacture them in the UK. Before China adopted capitalism in the 1980s it would make, say, a bicycle in China, manufactured by Chinese people and then try and export it. Today, we live in a world in which companies in the UK contract out the manufacture of an item to China, have it imported into the UK and then sell it to UK people. Why do they do this? Profit, profit and more profit.

UK companies are exploiting cheaper foreign labour. And the key word is exploitation. A British worker may be paid £1,200/month and then there is employee NI, employer NI, pension contributions, ... The company doing the manufacture will have tighter Health & Safety to comply with in the UK than in China, all adding to the cost. Compare this to a Chinese worker who gets paid £26/month for the assembly of Apple's iPhones. A Rate that is ~45 times cheaper, bearing in mind that £1,200/month is not a great UK pay rate.

And thus we see UK companies having their goods abroad is a modern day form of slavery. Owners, Boards and Managers of UK companies getting rich and fat through the exploitation of cheaper foreign labour.

One UK retailer that proudly boats of conforming to the Modern Day Slavery UK legislation is White Stuff. On the 19th of July I emailed them the following:

"Of your entire product range do you have 1 item that is made in the UK?"

They duly emailed back stating:

"Thank you for contacting White Stuff Customer Care. I am sorry non of our products are made in the UK. White Stuff have tried to make a difference for our suppliers with Ethical sourcing. We think about the whole White Stuff world and believe in doing good stuff that means looking after our people. We have been members of the Ethical Trading initiative since 2013, an organisation that brings together retailers and other organisations."

to which I emailed back:

"Whatever you say at the end of the day not 1 single item you sell is made in the UK. What an absolute sham. You want British people to buy your rubbish and don't support a single UK manufacturer. Instead you exploit foreign workers at cheaper salary rates."