TAKE ACTION to demand a strong supermarket watchdog
12th October, 2011
Join War on Want's campaign for a independent supermarket watchdog to help stop supplier bullying
Evidence of UK supermarkets' exploitation of overseas workers, including garment workers, flower workers and tea pickers has been uncovered over many years.
Supermarkets have used their buyer power to squeeze suppliers and drive down pay and working conditions around the world. This means the people that make the clothes and grow the food sold in UK supermarkets are often poorly paid, overworked, work in unsafe conditions and are discouraged from joining trade unions.
Following the failure of a 10 year old voluntary code, the Competition Commission recommended that the government should create an independent watchdog (now called the Groceries Code Adjudicator) to redress the balance of power and ensure that supermarkets stop bullying their suppliers. The watchdog will oversee and enforce the Code of Practice that governs the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers, in order to stop unfair practices.
In the run-up to the 2010 general election, all the major political parties committed to creating a watchdog - testament to sustained campaigning by a broad coalition led by War on Want and others in the Tescopoly alliance. However, since the election the coalition government has dragged its feet as big supermarkets relentlessly lobbied them to prevent a watchdog being set up.
The government has published a draft Bill which lays out the powers this watchdog (called the Groceries Code Adjudicator) will have. The fight is now on to make sure the watchdog can really deal with the huge problems in the supermarkets' supply chains.
It is vital that we keep up the pressure on the government to create a watchdog with real teeth, as supermarkets will continue to lobby MPs and ministers to make it as weak and ineffective as possible.
Write to your MP now via War on Want's supermarket watchdog campaign. Remind them just how important a strong, independent and proactive watchdog is to suppliers in the UK and overseas. Demand the government introduces a supermarket watchdog with teeth.
News investigation Bitter harvest: migrant workers on UK farms 'still exploited'
Migrant workers are vital for meeting the UK's demand for year-round fruit and vegetables. But despite improvements since the Morecambe Bay tragedy, allegations of poor conditions and abuse in the horticulture sector persist. Andrew Wasley reports
News investigation Scandal of the 'tomato slaves' harvesting crop exported to UK
Across Italy an invisible army of migrant workers harvests tomatoes destined for our dinner plates. Paid poverty wages and living in squalor, medical charities have described conditions as 'hell'. Andrew Wasley reports from Basilicata, southern Italy
Why ethical food trade is only possible with supermarket action
International supply chains leave the horticultural workers harvesting our food in poor countries highly vulnerable to exploitation. Retailers, unions, NGOs and governments must work together to tackle this, says Julia Hawkins
Special report PG Tips and Lipton tea hit by 'sexual harassment and poor conditions' claims
Unilever denies some female employees at its Rainforest Alliance-certified tea plantation in Kenya are subjected to sexual harassment. But Dutch research outfit SOMO paints a very different picture. Verity Largo and Andrew Wasley report
Special report Sugar: why our favourite spoonful is not so sweet
Sugar can be produced from both sugar beet and sugarcane. Sugarcane production is of particular concern in terms of environmental degradation and human rights abuses, reports William McLennan
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