Jump to content

Badly Treated FairTrade Workforce


Recommended Posts

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6682689.stm

 

The above is a story about Pratts bananas, a company alleged by the BBC to have treated its migrant workers poorly. Not an uncommon practice in the UK, but this company was supplying FairTrade products to at least one of the large supermarkets.

 

It took me back to when I worked in York for a temping agency. In those days there was no minimum wage. What we were paid was a pittance, but jobs were thin on the ground in York. Every post woud have a minimum of 75 applicants, but usually over 100.

 

One morning I went to the carrot factory that I temped at. Work was handed out a day at a time to ensure that costs were cut to the bone. The agency had sent 18 of us and when the supervisor counted us he realised that there were more than the 17 he required. He said that he would have to send one of us home so I put my hand up and volunteered. It was back breaking work at breakneck pace and I had little interest in it, preferring instead to go without food for the day. The supervisor instead picked out the only black in amongst us. I complained as it was obviously racially motivated and volunteered to go in the black guy's place, but the supervisor was having none of it.

 

I pointed the racism out in a call to the agency that night and I never got another job from them again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems pretty typical given that Pratts supplies a number of leading supermarkets. It doesn't seem to matter what sort of idea you come up with to be a bit nicer, the big supermarkets will subvert it.

 

Label foods to encourage the public to learn how to eat healthily? Oh, no, much too complicated, say the supermarkets, we'll use this toytown traffic lights thing. (And there won't be many red lights, you can bet.)

 

Fair trading practices to try to improve the lot of the dirt-poor people who are slaving to grow your coffee, etc? Wonderful, they say, that's a nice label, must be worth 30-40% on the price, and after six months people won't be watching our practices too closely.

 

And now we have McDonalds campaigning to get "McJob" out of the Oxford dictionary. Leave it in! It's their karma for exemplifying the crappy jobs in the first place. Nice to see a corporation that size running scared!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I allways thought fair trade was only to help the producers? I allways understood the people up the chain got less as their percentage went to the producers instead.

 

I think that you are right Styles, but it has rather drawn attention to the whole chain in this case and it will be sad if a few poor employers tarnish the name of the Fair Trade process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most folk do think when they look at fair trade that it helps everyone when in reality it does not. Is a shame, but I wonder if prices were a lot more due to ethical and fair treatment through the whole process if people would still be willing to pay?

Problem in the UK is that compaired to other countries such as France we dont care about where or product comes from, quality etc as long as its cheap.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Slightly "on-the-side" but, is everything which isn't marked as FairTrade unfairly traded for?

 

Can trade between a giant supermarket and a farmer ever really be fair?

 

Most folk do think when they look at fair trade that it helps everyone when in reality it does not. Is a shame, but I wonder if prices were a lot more due to ethical and fair treatment through the whole process if people would still be willing to pay?

Problem in the UK is that compaired to other countries such as France we dont care about where or product comes from, quality etc as long as its cheap.

 

Yes it's not one of our more "distinguished" national traits, and I think its on the way out with farmers markets becoming more and more popular. I think people are becoming more willing to pay more for food, but whether you pay £1 or £5 for something from the supermarket, you can bet that they will have screwed every last possible penny out of the deal. That means either the buyer, or the supplier (or both) lose out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...