This morning while I was chugging down my morning coffee, my partner read me this article that he had found on ABC news. It was extremely distressing to say the least.
I have spent the last few years working towards eating foods and using products that are as ethical as possible where I can. Now I can’t always make the choice that I would prefer to but I do the best I can within my financial situation. I choose stall free pork products and free range everything wherever I can. I read labels and check that my make up and hair products are cruelty free and I vote with my wallet against companies that are known for unethical shennanigans and there are many. So to hear this latest news was disheartening.
Read the full article Here
Yep you read that right – slave labour conditions, in Australia, in 2015. In a country that prides itself on it’s high standard of living and fair treatment of its workers. Hmmm. For me as a consumer this means that my choices to shop in an ethical manner in a regional/semi-rural area have been removed. It doesn’t matter where I spend my money – I will end up “supporting” a system that that not only often turns a blind eye to the mistreatment of animals in the name of keeping prices down, but now as it turns out also turns a blind eye to the mistreatment of low skilled migrant workers, people who moved to Australia in search of a better life, amongst others. Seriously?! We are no longer in the 1800’s – you would think that the Government would be dealing with this but it seems those whom are supposed to care have put it in the too hard basket and perhaps been passing the buck backwards and forwards a bit, all the while muttering “not my problem”…
It might all seem a little hard to believe but I don’t find it quite so difficult. Since I have been in Australia I have been on the receiving end of some pretty unethical treatment myself. I am not a low skilled migrant or refugee. I am not a backpacker trying to work my way around the world. I am an extremely highly skilled, well trained individual from a first world country.. Australia’a closest neighbour in fact. Since I have been here I have experienced repeated underpayment, instances of having to wait over a month to be paid, illegal handling of peoples documents, I have also witnessed colleagues being verbally abused, harassed, undermined and emotionally battered. I have personally experienced bullying, abuse, and stigmatisation. These were over a number of different businesses, some of them well known and well thought of. While it’s not slave labour, in my personal experience there seems to be a culture of undermining tactics, bullying and ill treatment of workers here, all in the name of the almighty dollar.. this ABC article highlights this.
I guess to cut a long story short – we ,as consumers and workers, have rights. As workers we have the right to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, we have the right to go to work and perform our jobs as best we can free from bullying and harassment. As consumers we have the right to demand ethical treatment of the people who provide our goods and services. We have the right to demand action when we find out about unethical behaviour in companies large and small – and I have said it before we do have the right to vote with our wallets and our feet – if you aren’t happy, take your business somewhere else, If you can’t take your business somewhere else, as in this case, demand answers, demand change. Write to your local member of parliament, write letters to the editor, write blog posts that ask hard questions and demand answers and change.
That’s it for today, I think .. Phew!