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child labour can be a positive thing. sometimes.

(33 Posts)
cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:27:30

i have recently been reading a lot about the apalling living and working conditions of the people making a lot of clothes sold in uk high streets.
there was arather nasty article by someone in the times on sunday about how he thought they were only worth 40P an hour and we shouldnt be bothered. i thought he was speaking out of his backside personally.
however i just want to say that kids working and earning a wage is NOT always a bad thing.
in many parts of the world, it is the only alternative to starvation. well meaning organisations that then close down the only avenues of earning for these families condemn them
someone who is earning a wage, is providing for his her family. the are not involved in crimes. they are not involved in armies, (child soldiers) they are not involved in prostitution. the job can be a training or an apprenticeship. it usually, but not always i admit, is a method of improving there quality of life.
the problem is the people who take advantage of child workers. and the governments societis that allow situations to exist where children need to work.
i hope i have made some sense here.

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:29:09

sorry - I think that's utter rubbish - child labour is bad FULL STOP. "training or apprenticeship" - you're having a laugh????

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:31:09

i send my kids to school so they can acquire skills for living and for life. if they did not get them there, then i would send them somewhere where they could gain the skills necessar4y to becoming useful members of society.
but if the choice was between hanging round the local street gangs, getting involoved in drugs/violence etc, or working in a sweatshop earning below minimum wage then i know which i would choose.

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:32:44

qoq, that's your opinion.
i have seen children who work, and live in decent conditions because of the work they do. their families are unable, or unwilling to provide for them. far better they work than they be on the streets prostituting themselve.

Kathyis6incheshigh Thu 16-Aug-07 16:33:23

I think I get where Cylon is coming from - her point is (if I read it correctly) that out of the range of options that may be available to a child in a particular society, labour may not be the worst.

However, I do think we need to aim for a society in which no children have to work.

MarkingFental Thu 16-Aug-07 16:35:33

I thought this was going to be a thread where someone had found a way of persuading their two year old to tidy up after themselves.

<shoves two year old up chimney>

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:35:57

cylon - do you not understand

A child labourer will not have attended school so will NEVER have a good paid job

They will live in poverty, their children will also end up uneducated and working in a sweatshop etc and so the cycle continues.

There is no such thing as "minimum wage" in most of the countries were child labour is a major problem - apprenticships and the like are reserved for those fortunate enough to have some form of education.

MyTwopenceworth Thu 16-Aug-07 16:36:45

I don't agree that it could ever be a good thing that a child had to give up their childhood to work or their family starved.

Education. Play. That is childhood. Or it should be. The food and the clothes and the roof.... all that is the world of the adult. Or it should be.

Now I know that the reality is that children in many parts of the world have no choice but to give up their childhood to help keep the family alive, but I think that instead of looking for ways in which we can market that as a positive and useful thing, we should instead remind ourselves what childhood should be and look at ways that we can take child labour out of the equation.

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:36:53

yes kathy, thats exactly what i am saying.

if we could crate a society where all children could have a childhood, then that would be ideal. but in the real world, we live in, it's ahorrible place, that just doesnt happen. and i think that a blanket ban on disallowing children to work is more harmful.

not quite the same thing, as adult women arementally and emotionally stronger than children, but banning women from working harms families more than working women.

Desiderata Thu 16-Aug-07 16:39:51

I tend to stay away from threads like this, but I do think a little balance in the debate is always welcome.

This continuous desire to boycott everything gets a little tedious, imo. Emotive expressions such as 'slave labour' don't really help. A slave is a slave; a child working twelve hours a day in an impoverished country is something else .. and something that went on in the UK until the middle of the 19th century (and later in areas).

Europe went through major upheavals to get to where it's at today. It's simplistic to think that other countries around the world can simply 'turn on a light' and make everything alright and palatable for the rest of us. I'm afraid it just doesn't work like that.

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:40:15

also while they may be providing for their family - it's still a pitance - and for 12hr days, 7 days a week, no "rights", no breaks etc etc

And also often its the girls who end up in such jobs as education is considered "less important" for them.

An uneducated soceity will continue to be a society in poverty.

diplodocus Thu 16-Aug-07 16:41:36

I think you're confusing the definition of child labour with child work. There are many definitions of child labour, but they generally refer to children exceeding a number of hours work a week (defined by the childs age). It precludes the child attending school and is inherently exploitative and damaging (either mentally or physically). "Child work" refers to children performing a much lighter workload which means they can still attend school as well as contribute to the family economy. Most agencies will clearly specify between these two, and will not just want to stop children working per se. Unicef have some good stuff on this if you're interested.

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:41:36

mtp, let me tell yo about pakistan. i know a little about the education system there, but if anyone knows more, please feel free to correct me.
the curriculum and education there do Not teach you any sort of life skills. it is ten, to fifteen years of school fees for learning how to read and write and do some sums. there is no sex education, no religious education (for fear of causing trouble amongst all thevarious sects etc)

having paid for all that, if you still do not get a job, let alone a decent job, then what is th point of it? a few years of learning how to meld metal will get you a far better job, than the years and years of useless school will.

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:43:58

but that's usually what it is slave labour - they've often been sold by their family to work in a sweatshop!!!

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:45:18

diplodocus, please do link, i dont knoow a great deal about this topic, and would like to learn more.
i have seen some children working in pakistan, and living a better life for it.
i have also seen graduates, who have had all the education possible thrown at them, wh o dont work and know nothing of life.

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:45:55

"it is ten, to fifteen years of school fees for learning how to read and write and do some sums."

yes - reading, writing and maths - pretty vital skills in a world where often these are the things that are required in order to get a job with a semi-decent wage. An illterate society is never going to move forwards.

MarkingFental Thu 16-Aug-07 16:46:20

Huuuge sweeping simplification there cylon.

Illiteracy and innumeracy are huge problems.

I can see where this thread is headed. You won't like it.

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:47:02

qoq, that is completly wrong. and should be stamped down on.
however, what i am trying to say is that it is not always the case. its a bigger wider picture than just that. and requires a better solution.

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:47:14

"i have also seen graduates, who have had all the education possible thrown at them, wh o dont work and know nothing of life."

Lots of those in any country in the world I think - I know some born and bred British Graduatesd who know nothing of life and don't work.......

MyTwopenceworth Thu 16-Aug-07 16:48:07

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:50:12

MTP - I couldn't even finish that first article - so .

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:50:30

mf, i dont have the time to stay and argue if this thread goes the wayit might
i have an opinion that life is not always black andwhite. there are shades of grey. i wanted to air it so that other mumsnetters might hear another side of the same story that i have been reaing ots of recently.

qoq, reading and writing and sums are not enough. some job skills are also required

TheQueenOfQuotes Thu 16-Aug-07 16:53:18

cylon - please read MTP's 2nd link - very interesting reading.

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 16:54:19

mtp, those areticles are so

cylon Thu 16-Aug-07 17:02:44

the first article is sad, and certainly the employer sadiq seems to be taking advanage of the kids, but it doesnt say they are being inll treated. the parents are making decisions for there kids futures. i hope they are the right ones.
the second article is i think saying what i am trying to say, in my muddled confuesd way.
the bit about child soldiers makes me want to cry. that can never be right.

i am going to read the third link now.

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