A superbly edited short film by PUNK ETHICS in conjunction with NO SWEAT makes a powerful case for the scene to clean up its act with regard to the sourcing of its t-shirts. The movie interviews a range of well known figures from bands including CRASS, The Restarts, Petrol Girls, Propagandhi, Oi Polloi, Wonk Unit and former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra:
All of them eloquently make the obvious point that bands can not only avoid the hypocrisy of selling items that are produced by modern day slave labour, but they can also do their small part in redressing the balance by sourcing their merchandise from properly regulated ethical producers.
The facts and figures about sweatshop labour produced by everyone from local NGOs to the United Nations make for a truly horrifying read. The majority of persons employed in sweatshop conditions come from the most vulnerable social groups including millions of women and children. Of the estimated 250 million children toiling in these conditions, approximately 22 million are thought to die each year as a direct result of their working environment. Hardly any of them receive an education. Meanwhile, 85% of sweatshop workers are young women aged 15 to 25. Worldwide sweatshops pay their workers an average of less than £1.00 a day and many of them are forced to hand over a portion their pitiful income in return for substandard food and accommodation which they are forced to endure as part of their contract with their employers. Conditions in factories in China, India and Bangladesh are so miserable that management have installed suicide nets to avoid the awkward questions arising from workers taking their own lives by jumping from the roofs or upstairs windows.
Along with producing this informative film PUNK ETHICS & NO SWEAT have also provided a means for bands signing up to this campaign to source their shirts at a discount while also paying into the campaign against this abhorrent practice. The clothing in question is produced by a workers’ cooperative which is another solution to this problem (along with unionised workplaces) which the film promotes.