A repeat offender in the eyes of NGOs and labour activists, Wal-Mart is once again under scrutiny after the building collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesh recently, in which hundreds of people died. While stressing that it was not directly involved in the building collapse, the firm has launched a campaign of “Best Industry Child Labour Practice” to convince the buying public it is doing everything it can to keep children safe.
“We have the strictest standards of any Western retailer”, said Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar. “For example, children under the age of five can not work for us. Our child workers are allowed half a day off every month, and there is a ten minute lunch break and a generous sleep period from 2am till 4am every night.”
“Pay is above local industry average, with each child taking home almost a dollar a day,” David Tovar said.“I am happy to work for Wal-Mart”, said Rajeev, the ten year old star of a short movie made by Wal-Mart in Bangladesh. “This is the best job I had, and I have had several,” Rajeev said in the movie, in which he and other children were smiling and singing as they made t-shirts for export.
Wal-Mart says it is monitoring happiness levels in its child factories abroad. “Managers who consistently report over 90% happiness rates among our child workers get a bonus,” Wal-Mart said.