What Are the Working Conditions in Textile Mills?

Deutsche Welle (DW) describes the working conditions in textile mills, also known as sweatshops, as horrible. Workers are expected to work long hours for very poor wages under stressful conditions. According to the DW website, Cambodian employees at Kaoway Sports get the equivalent of 66 U.S. dollars per month, while workers at Evergreen Garment Company in Phnom Pehn receive about 69 U.S. dollars per month.

The retail industry grosses billions of dollars each year off of the labor of underpaid workers. Popular brand names contract with textile mills in various places like Africa, Asia and South America to produce most of their merchandise at lower rates than can be found in North America and Europe. The Washington Post says that "Though analysts say major companies have become stricter about conditions in the factories they use, they still hold that the industry as a whole is too loosely regulated and that the major brands and retailers are largely immune from formal responsibility."

The Washington post notes that since the collapse of the Rana Plaza textile center and other notable incidents in Bangladesh and Cambodia, there is increased expectation for world retailers to assume more responsibility for the workers safety and work conditions. However, according to WaronWant.org, conditions have not improved as factories still expect employees to endure "poor working conditions such as excessive and forced overtime, denial of social security rights and failure to provide employment contracts, as well as severe health risks." Today working conditions in textile mills are not much different from those throughout the 19th and 18th century.