Primark – well, what did you expect?

I was intrigued to pick up on this, about Primark, from the BBC site. My surprise was that Primark sourced clothes from within the UK at all. The revelation that they (the suppliers) pay less than the minimum wage and have very poor working conditions was not the surprise.

I was always amazed by the prices at Primark. They were so cheap that the material would almost have cost more than the finished garment. Did anyone honestly think that the workers were paid minimum wage and were working in, what we would call, good conditions?

I just assumed that they were made in some sweatshops in the third world.

And, I do not believe that Primark management did not know this was the case. Surely, they have buyers who can work it out for themselves. If you can buy a pair of jeans for, say £10 instead of, say £40, then the costs, of which labour must be a major player, must be significantly reduced OR the price of £40 is exorbitant to the extreme. And these are the prices to the public! The prices that Primark pay would be considerably less.

As I’ve said before, the quality may be not so good, but it still takes a person some time to make one pair of jeans and there is still material involved

Shocking? Not really.

4 thoughts on “Primark – well, what did you expect?

  1. Hi Cecilieaux,

    They do, indeed. I suspect that, in spite of the Governments ‘crack down’ on the employers that flout the minimum wage and health and safety laws, it has always been so, especially for immigrants.

    Just like the rose sellers here, they are lucky to get enough money just to survive let alone have any sort of life.

  2. Admittedly, I own some Primark clothes, but oddly I don’t feel convicted over the price.

    Perhaps in my mind anyone living in the UK should be aware that there is a minimum wage and better paid jobs (even as street cleaners or bus drivers) (and I’ve worked as a street cleaner in a previous life).

    Workers in the third world (India for example) aren’t aware of better jobs and conditions – there aren’t any, plus there is the oppressive cast system.

    It’s true there are vulnerable people in the UK, it’s just odd that Primark could get away with this in the UK, it’s like having a revalation that there are people dumping excement in the street when toilets have been around and in common use for a few hundred years.

    I suspect that this news is not going to faze many. Number one, as mentioned, people who are dissatisfied with Primark wages should be aware of better work conditions here. Secondly, the current economic climate and coming depression is going to make Primark even more popular in the next few years.

  3. Hi Alex,
    I too have some Primark clothes and, as I have mentioned in a previous post, the prices are incredible but the quality is not brilliant. I too do not feel convicted over this although I thought that they were made in India and the like.
    IMO, not only are workers not aware of better jobs (because, you’re right, there aren’t any, especially with the caste system they have) but, the cost of living is less than here (the West).
    However, I take issue with you over the workers here being aware of better wages and the minimum wage. It seems, from the report, that most of these people are illegal immigrants. They have no choice as to what job they have. I suspect that, for them, even street cleaners and bus drivers (and there’s nothing wrong with being a street cleaner or bus driver) are unavailable given the UK Government’s ‘crack down’ on illegal immigrants working. Just like the rose sellers here, for whom I feel great sadness.
    But you are right, Primark will become more popular as even unemployed people can afford something at Primark.
    I really must do a post about the rose sellers and street hawkers here, sometime.
    Cheers Alex, good to know you’re still around. Take care.

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