Oxfam questions UK supermarket supply chain

Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have supply chains that involve poor pay and harsh working conditions, according to new research published by Oxfam.

Oxfam points in particular to conditions on plantations that supply tea or fruit to global supermarkets in seven countries, and say that it highlights how the supermarkets’ “relentless drive to cut costs and maximise profits is fuelling poverty, abuse and gender discrimination.”

Rachel Wilshaw, Oxfam ethical trade manager said: “Despite some pockets of good practice, supermarkets’ relentless pursuit of profits continues to fuel poverty and human rights abuses in their supply chains. Supermarkets must do more to end exploitation, pay all their workers a living wage, ensure women get a fair deal and be more transparent about where they source their products.”

A separate Oxfam survey of over 500 workers on farms and plantations in the Philippines, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru and the US also adds to the growing evidence that poor wages and abuse are rife across the food sector. The survey found that three-quarters of workers said that they were not paid enough to cover basic needs such as food and housing. Over a third said they were not protected from injury or harm at work and were not able to take a toilet break or have a drink of water when they needed it.

The research was produced as part of Oxfam’s global Behind the Barcodes campaign which aims to improve the lives of the millions of people around the world producing food for supermarkets who are trapped in poverty and face brutal working conditions.

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