Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings

Source: Rem Zamora

It seems that one would think that about over a hundred laborers inside a factory doing everything that makes a cheap, lowly slipper: molding soft, raw rubber, cutting and trimming pieces for soles, assembling the product, checking for its quality, all prior to its distribution and selling. And perhaps with everyone's sensibilities would probably tell that theirs as decent, honest labor worthy of a decent living wage.

However, what everyone sees is its contrary. With 74 out of a hundred workers died in an accident last May 13, coming from a factory hacing lack of fire exits and substandard, cramped workplace, it seems that the tragedy is a major catastrophe as it involved people struggling for a daily living and an establishment eager to accumulate profits and disregard dignity. 

That somehow makes a really concerned individual (including yours truly) interprets as more than just an accident. There are instances that shrewd, scruplous owners, who at the same time administrators, chose substandard workplaces out of cheapness putting together both materials and men, of buying cheap and selling dear, of less worries about worker's plight from being contractualised to letting them die least they are not regular workers of that said establishment but of a contracted agency. Isn't it that stupid for that owner-administrator to disregard human capital and workplace improvement, especially in manufacturing a slipper that had even reached mainstream markets?

Well, given the shrewdness of the owner eager for profits and disregarding workplace safety and worker's dignity, then that accident is more than just an accident, but a holocaust. With the fact that these shrewd, scruplous owners, its dirty motives like contracualisation, disregardment of worker's welfare, and others related, all in favour of unjust profiteering amidst substandard workplaces. Simply by continuing its operation despite its non-adherence to proper health and safety standards, as well as violations of labor standards like the minimum wage, then it is a clear basis that the owners, as well as  lazy government officials, are responsible and should be held accountable in that kind of holocaust.

Yes, true to its term meaning "burnt offering" in Greek, the Kentex factory burning and the death of 74 workers is an offering to these fat cats and its greed-driven motives. But instead of a fulfillment of their wishes, it rather aggravates anger, coming from concerned citizens and groups, survivors of that catastrophe, and bereaved families of their fallen loved ones who are still asserting justice and accountability on these shrewd, scruplous owners. That regardless of being an accident, the owners are still held accountable knowing that they had failed to ensure their safety, welfare, anything that a company has to provide for its workers the way they afforded to gain profits from their saleable goods such as slippers.

Ironically, that establishment is also once implicated in the creation of fake well-known sandals coming from Brazil, and yet it continued to thrive until that recent tragedy, that Havana, a sandal coming from a factory that once making fake Havianas sandals were manufactured at the same place that had become a crematoria! Yes, a crematoria that brought its own holocaust and a series of controveries such as flaws surrounding safety procedures, worker's welfare, and the need for justice against scrupulous, shrewd owners still trying to evade alongside lax government officials. 

Well, amidst the tragic events, the message is clear that justice should be evenly dispensed, served at all costs. That workers, both died in flames and survived in its low paying hardships deserves the prize enough to ensure their survival. Obviously they don't want to work under cramped conditions and failing to survive ages and policies, but realities such as poverty is enough for a compulsion to work no matter how hard the condition, low its wage, desperate for their survival as laborers in that said site. Most news reports are now trying to water down the issue if not keeping it short so as not to be emphasised, but more and more concerned are trying to heed in that report bearing the tragedy and its connection to labour and a need to reclaim its dignity being makers of their slippers. Again, the issue is more than just an accident out of faulty wiring, but a holocaust in which shrewd owners trying to evade despite acknowledging the affected establishment as theirs.

And as for the authorities, likely enough for broken pieces of pottery carrying their names be thrown directly towards themselves by an angry populace. The people are tired of their inefficiencies and laxness amidst self-pride according to their statements.