Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Workers were harmed after protesting at a Nike factory in Cambodia

Many major US companies have built their factories in developing countries because they can pay lower wages than they would have to pay if they had their factories in the USA. 

They claim that they are helping other countries to develop economically, but the workers are paid outrageously (crazy) low salaries.



In Cambodia many workers held a protest due to the terribly low wages they were receiving.  The police were called in and attacked the (women) protesters with sticks that cause electric shocks to the victims.  (I don't think I'll ever buy anything from Nike again.)

The article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/27/cambodian-workers-hurt-nike-factory-clash

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a clash - a conflict, when two different groups fight against each other.  This, however, did not seem to be a 'clash.'  This seemed to be an 'attack' by the police.  The women did not have weapons, but the police had weapons and were dressed in 'riot gear.'

a stun baton - a baton is a long, thick wooden stick.  To stun someone is to shock someone.  Apparently scientists have made such batons that have electrical charges and which can be used to give people electric shocks.

a protest - this is when a group of people do not believe they are being treated well or when a group of people disagree with something, and they gather together to publicly express that they are upset.

a coffin - this is the wooden box into which a dead body (a corpse) is placed

a trade union - this is an organization of workers that tries to defend the rights of the workers

riot gear - a riot is when a protest becomes violent.  "gear" is any type of equipment that can be worn over clothing.  Riot gear is protective stuff the police wear over their clothing (like helmets and bullet-proof vests).

to be deployed - to be sent to do a job

blocked a road - stopped anyone from being able to travel on that road

accounted for - made up.  Exports of clothing make up 75% of Cambodia's economy.

a strike - this is when workers refuse to work.

a warehouse - a place where goods or products are stored (kept) until they can be sent to retailers (stores where the goods can be sold).

it fell in on them - the roof fell on top of them

to collapse - to fall down

to stage a strike or protest - to have a strike or protest

at the plant - plant is also a term for factory

minimum wage - the lowest amount that a government allows an employer to pay an employee.  In the USA minimum wage is $7.25/hr. (which is very low).  The amount that workers are paid in developing countries, through minimum wage) is outrageously low.

to decline to comment - refused, wouldn't comment

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Conversation/writing topics: 

Do you think that companies like Nike are helping poorer countries to develop, or are they just using the workers to make money?

Before you buy any type of 'brand' item, do you think about where the item might have been made?  Would you refuse to buy an item if you knew the workers were being treated badly?

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