A new report by Oxfam has documented how “women working in the US poultry industry are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks”.
The report, titled ‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ and launched on Monday, documented the various acts of inequality that besetting the world.
It revealed how 82 percent of the wealth generated in 2017 was grabbed by the richest one percent of the global population, also stating that 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth.
The report is being launched as political and business elites gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘Reward Work, Not Wealth’ reveals how the global economy enables wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes while hundreds of millions of people are struggling to survive on poverty pay.
Citing Nigeria as an example, the humanitarian organization remarked that the legal minimum wage for workers has to be tripled for workers to live decent life.
According to the report, the number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate of one every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said: “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system.
“The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited to ensure a steady supply of cheap goods, and swell the profits of corporations and billionaire investors.
“Billionaire wealth has risen by an annual average of 13 percent since 2010 – six times faster than the wages of ordinary workers, which have risen by a yearly average of just 2 percent.
“The number of billionaires rose at an unprecedented rate of one every two days between March 2016 and March 2017.
“It takes just four days for a CEO from one of the top five global fashion brands to earn what a Bangladeshi garment worker will earn in her lifetime. In the US, it takes slightly over one working day for a CEO to earn what an ordinary worker makes in a year.”
The Oxfam report outlined the key factors driving up rewards for shareholders and corporate bosses at the expense of workers’ pay and conditions.
These include the erosion of workers’ rights, excessive influence of big business over government policy-making, and the relentless corporate drive to minimize costs in order to maximize returns to shareholders.
“Women workers often find themselves off at the bottom of the heap. Across the world, women consistently earn less than men and are usually in the lowest paid and least secure forms of work. By comparison, 9 out of 10 billionaires are men,” the report said.
“Oxfam has spoken to women across the world whose lives are blighted by inequality: women in Vietnamese garment factories who work far from home for poverty pay and don’t get to see their children for months at a time, women working in the US poultry industry who are forced to wear nappies because they are denied toilet breaks, women working in hotels in Canada and the Dominican Republic who stay silent about sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs.”
Oxfam called on governments to “ensure that economies work for everyone and not just the fortunate few: Limit returns to shareholders and top executives, and ensure all workers receive a minimum ‘living’ wage that would enable them to have a decent quality of life”.