With branches present in almost every country, Wal-Mart is the largest retail store in the world. The major strong point of Wal-Mart that has kept it the number one retail store despite criticism from many quarters is the fact that, it retails products at very low prices. In the recent past, Wal-Mart has been on the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The retail store has come under immense criticism from many stakeholders such as unions and even employees who do not stay at the retail store for long. This has resulted in lawsuits flying on the face of the retail store more than any other corporation. This all has to do with the way Wal-Mart treats its employees. Despite Wal-Mart being the biggest and most profitable retail store in the world, the wages to employees are extremely low and the working conditions are in a pathetic state.
According to Timothy Jordan, there are other retail stores that in the predicament that Wal-Mart finds itself in the public domain. In the last financial Wal-Mart posted profits in excess of 10 billion dollars, despite this huge earnings, the retail store continues to dominate the headlines for issues such as improper practices at the work place, violation of the wage law and even provision of a below par health care for the employees. All this attention has no doubt portrayed the retail store in the eyes of trade unions and even government agencies. As a result, Wal-Mart has been sued on several occasions and still more lawsuits are filed against the retail store each year.
Most dangerous jobs
Jobs in general are risky in one way or the other. However in Wal-Mart it is a different case altogether. The different departments in Wal-Mart have different type of jobs that exhibit a variety of risks to the employees. Despite the huge profits made by Wal-Mart, the employees work in extremely harsh conditions coupled with the fact that, the health care benefit is inadequate. This has put the retail store at logger heads with trade unions and labor unions alike. The exploitation of employees set aside, Wal-Mart is alleged to have failed to provide protective gear to employees while at work. The employees in general are not 100% safe in Wal-Mart especially those who are the entrance and deal with huge crowds.
The most dangerous job of all is the cutting of fabrics in the stores. This is due to the fact that, the employees who are deployed in this department that involves shaping and cutting fabrics are provided with inadequate gears to keep them safe as they work. There no dangerous job than cutting a large number of fabrics for long hours without safety equipment. These employees risk bodily harm that could even cost them their lives. On numerous occasions, Wal-Mart is alleged to have failed to avail safety equipment to the workers who cut fabrics. The employees are forced to do their work without even gloves. Some reports indicate that, for Wal-Mart the retail store cuts down on its expenses by not purchasing gloves for the workers. The least expensive option is washing blood from the clothes then subsequently taking them abroad for sale. The employees in this section of fabric cutting are forced to work long hours and are in some instances mistreated. Wal-Mart is alleged to have resorted to contracting immigrants to work in the stores. Why else would a company resort to contract immigrants? The fact that illegal immigrants are desperate, they are susceptible to exploitation. And that is what the retail store, subjects the immigrants who have limited options.
Employees are not adequately informed of the risk
Any employer is bound to ensure a safe working environment for his employees. Provision of proper safety equipment is a primary responsibility of the employer. The employees have the right to be kept safe and if it means getting proper gear for the job so be it.There are aspects relating to work that need not be expressly stated so that they can take effect, safety equipment is one of those. It is impliedly stated in the contract of employment. Clearly the fabric cutters who work in the harsh conditions without safety equipment were not informed of the risk involved. This is because they expect the employer who is Wal-Mart to provide them with safety equipment.
The risk is unacceptable
The fact that the employees were not informed of the unavailability of safety equipment means they did not foresee the risk and hence did not consent to it. This implies the risk the employees are subjected to is completely unacceptable. All employers are bound by law to ensure the work place is safe for all. Clearly Wal-Mart has failed in this requirement by not ensuring the employees are safe in all aspects.