This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
Valentine’s Day is the most lucrative date in the flower retailers’ calendar yet workers in developing countries are risking their health and toiling for a pittance supplying British supermarkets.
Bouquets are sold for vastly inflated prices but research by anti-poverty charity War on Want has found the mainly female workforce in Colombia and Kenya supplying those flowers continues to slave for as little as half the living wage.
Workers also suffer problems such as disabling repetitive strain injuries and miscarriages through exposure toxic to pesticides, the charity said.
Supermarkets sell around 70 per cent of all the flowers bought in Britain — the highest proportion in Europe.
While many British firms have adopted voluntary standards for their suppliers, these are still failing to protect the health and safety of workers or ensure basic workers’ rights.
War on Want believes government regulation is necessary to introduce binding legislation to hold companies to account for the impacts in their supply chains.
It argues that workers supplying multinational companies in Britain should have the right to redress in this country and the ability to seek compensation for damage to their health or loss of earnings as the result of actions of British companies and their suppliers.
The charity is calling for the establishment of a supermarket watchdog to tackle abuses by British firms and their suppliers.
War on Want spokesman Paul Collins said: “Millions of people buying Valentine’s Day roses for their loved ones will be shocked to learn that many workers supplying them face poor pay and conditions.
“It is nothing less than a disgrace that company bosses are piling up profits while Kenyans on flower farms struggle to feed themselves and their families, and live in slum housing. British corporate leaders must ensure a living wage and decent conditions for them.”
Mr Collins added that with London Fashion week due to begin today, “we urge shoppers not only to press retailers on flower workers’ treatment, but on the need to guarantee a living wage and good, safe conditions for those who make our clothes or supply fruit, tea and wine sold in UK stores.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.