Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 32: A decent place to live

HealthWiki > Workers' Guide to Health and Safety > Chapter 32: A decent place to live

a woman speaking to a group; next to her are 2 lists on the wall.
The government uses public money to make sure export factories have electricity and streetlights, running water and sewer systems, paved roads and parking areas, telephone service, and security guards. And the factories may not even pay taxes! We are organizing to demand better housing and services for workers. The factories owe us not only a fair salary, but also better communities.
Water and sanitation
Prevent illness
Improves the quality of life of the community
Paved streets
Help prevent pollution and illness
Trees and green space
Help the community breathe
Police, fire,
ambulance services
Protect workers

When governments allow factories to set up in your community, together they plan the buildings, roads, electricity and other services a factory needs to operate. But they often do not take workers’ needs into account. In their plans, only the workers’ labor counts — not their well-being.

Because export factories employ so many people, governments and employers need to make sure they have enough public services, such as housing, sanitation, safe water, and transportation. For good health and safety, they must also install sidewalks and streetlights, plant trees, build parks and playgrounds, and, of course, build and staff schools, clinics, hospitals, and cultural centers.

This page was updated:28 Feb 2021