low wages

A Permanent Solution for the Neglected Produce Laborers of Mexico

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by Fidelis Spies 

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Problem:

A Times reporter and photographer find that thousands of laborers at Mexico’s mega-farms endure harsh conditions and exploitation while supplying produce for American consumers.

The Times found:

  • Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
  • Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
  • Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It’s common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
  • Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
  • Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.

Hardship on Mexico’s farms, a bounty for U.S. tables

By RICHARD MAROSI http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-camps/

Where does our food come from? It is the fruits and veggies of other people’s labor. Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers. As you can see in the article it’s the actual labors that come out last.

The company utilizes advance growing techniques and very carefully employs sanitary measures to make sure their produce is safe and good quality, but at the same time they absolutely neglect the workforce. The produce has a higher value than the actual humans working there. One of these Companies actually recently took out full-page newspaper ads promoting its commitment to social responsibility.

The company these laborers work for use devious ways to keep profits high. It is law to pay workers their wages on a weekly base. To ensure that the people do not leave before their 3 month work contract the company often withholds their wages and only pays them at the end of their contract. In that time the workers get their food from the company store with its inflated prices. They often go deep in debt and at the end of their contract some go home without any money.

The conditions are so bad, yet people still go there to work knowing that they might not make money – some go just to stay fed. They go because they simply have no alternative and that is what the companies are exploiting. Is there any way to stop this Madness? Yes

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Solution:

The main reason why people will work for a company like this and live with the miserable living conditions is because they need the money – no matter how little it is. So let’s see how the Living Income Guaranteed will drastically improve the situation:

With the Living Income Guaranteed the workforce will no longer be able to be exploited, because that desperation to find a job no matter where it is or how terrible the work conditions are will no longer exist. When the people who cannot find work receive a Living Income they will no longer accept bad working conditions. The company will have to improve the working conditions otherwise they are going to have a hard time hiring the workforce needed to get the job done.

This Involves granting them good quality foods that they are used to eating, to create proper housing with full services for them – water, toilets – and proper working gear. Also what would need to be done is abolish all abuse – this means no threats and not deliberately creating debt for the workforce.  These companies will need to apply and live by their corporate social responsibility measures; currently it’s only a front to make the companies look good.

With the basic Income Double the Living Income the laborers will be able to make a guaranteed decent living that will be paid on a weekly basis, no excuses allowed.

A Living Income Guaranteed will provide effective and practical solutions to all the current problems these laborers are facing and it is something this world needs – a Solution.

 

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Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Life Isn’t Supposed to be this Hard

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By Cerise Poolman

Labor force South Africa Living Income Minimum WageI have had many conversations with people, mostly people who are in low-paying jobs without much prospects for advancement, conversations about life. The thing that everyone agrees on is that life shouldn’t be this hard. Sometimes someone might say something like “I don’t know what we can do, maybe just pray harder.” To this I will respond with something like I think that what will be more effective than prayer to make a difference is action. If we all take action together, united in the goal of making life better, then we will see great changes – and everyone agrees to this logic. I have not met one person who says “NO, action won’t change anything!” The worst thing within all of this is that this life is difficult because we make it so. The worst part is that we could change the world if we took action, but we don’t.

One of the most popular excuses I hear is that it’s “other peoples’ faults”. The world is horrible and I have a crap life because of all the a-holes in the world. There are too many people who won’t change. The world will never change when there are so many bad people. This excuse is used to justify our own inaction – because apparently any effort we make would have no results and so it’s not even worth the effort. It’s as if we’re waiting for guaranteed paths of action, unwilling to move until we are absolutely sure that what we do will actually work. In a way this is the easy way out, because standing for change means going out into the unknown, no certainty as to what lies ahead.

Here in South Africa a very large part of the workforce survives on minimum wage, well below the poverty line. A large number of people live in illegal or government housing (which doesn’t appear to be very different when you put the two next to each other). These are the people who are hurt the most by this world, who are the most vulnerable. At this stage the only ways that they can try to bring about change is through protests, sometimes violent and sometimes not. At this stage there is a diminished level of understanding as to how change can be brought about – not only by impoverished people, but by most people.

There is a serious hole in the understanding of the average citizen Joe of how the system works, and more importantly, the power that each person has. Back to South Africa, what can the impoverished and vulnerable do to change their lives? They have minimal support from public (government) and community structures – dealing with the government is like pulling teeth, but pulling the wrong one each time. These people do not know how to ask the right questions, most of the time they do not even know what their rights are and what support structures are available to them. What then can they do? They often have only limited skills in reading and writing and, if any, very limited access to public sources of knowledge such as the internet. To add to this, the leaders they are most likely to choose are the ones who stir passion in their hearts, whether the message they are giving makes sense or not. Then there is the question of those who are more privileged – how far does their responsibility extend to the underprivileged?

I would say that where one has the ability and understanding to support another then they also have the responsibility to do so. What defines ‘ability’? Resources, skills, knowledge – but to what degree? Well, let me put it this way: If you know that you can help, then it becomes your responsibility to do so. Waiting for someone else to come along and help so that you don’t have to is an abdication of your responsibility to your community – and I don’t mean ‘community’ in the smallest sense of the word, I mean it in the largest sense, the global sense.

Life isn’t supposed to be this hard. We can change it. We can help each other. We can give opportunities to each other. We can support each other to be the best we can be. It’s doesn’t start with some other guys over there – it starts with YOU and ME. WE are the change, TOGETHER we are better, stronger. We have the responsibility to support solutions that will bring heaven to Earth. We may not see the full fruits of our labours in our lifetime, but maybe our children will.

 

Promotion of and Education on a Living Income Guaranteed for South Africa.

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal