Socialist Worker

Brutality behind boom

Issue No. 1"

WAL-MART, the world’s biggest company, is being taken to court by a group of immigrant former employees. They have accused the US supermarket chain of conspiring with cleaning contractors to make them work in conditions “one step away from slavery”.

Immigrant workers at Wal-Mart told of working seven-night, 56-hour weeks at the stores for as little as £200, well below the national minimum hourly wage.

“It’s the most powerful and richest company in the world taking obscene advantage of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world,” said a lawyer involved in the case.

Wal-Mart and its contractors are also accused of failing to make required workers’ compensation and social security payments.

Wal-Mart’s bullying methods have been central to the “US boom”. Wal-Mart is responsible for nearly half of the productivity gains for the entire economy during the last five years.

Wal-Mart is the US’s biggest employer, accounting for 2.3 percent of the country’s gross national product. It sells £750m worth of goods on an average day through nearly 4,500 stores.


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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 22 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1"
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