Monday, January 19, 2004

Spent the weekend reading Greg Palast's The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, in which the investigative journalist takes aim at the IMF, the World Bank and corporate America.

Although Palast's conspiratorial "and then another batch of secret documents landed on my desk" tone gets tiresome after a while, one of the corporate big guns he turns his firepower on in the book is Wal-Mart....and coincidentally, the New York Times reports on the very labour practices at Wal-Mart that Palast so abhors.

The Times claims that an injured member of staff on a night shift at a Wal-Mart subsidiary had to wait an hour to get to hospital because the store had locked the workers in. Managers had warned workers that they'd be sacked if they used the fire exits for anything other than a fire.

Wal-Mart insists that by treating its staff liked caged animals it's actually protecting its staff from intruders -- and not trying to boost its bottom line by preventing them from stretching their legs or taking cigarette breaks.


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