Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tesco- Cherry Picking Inequality

Gertuida Baartman, 39 -Paid 38p an hour to collect apples, pears and peaches in Western Cape. She is a widow with three children and works for six months a year when the fruit is in season. If it rains she can not work and has to beg for food. She struggles to feed her family and pay for school fees, books and uniforms. Her family are forced to live on bread and potatos. Gertruida lives in a two-bedroom shack with her children, her parents, disabled brother and sister's children.

Terry Leahy, 51 -Appointed chief executive of Tesco in 1997 and is set to receive £11.5m in shares. The annual report revealed his salary rose from £3.9m to £4.6m last year. He grew up on a council estate in Liverpool and was educated at the University of Manchester. He was knighted in 2002 for his service to the food retail industry. Sir Terry lives in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, with his wife and three children where Tesco plans to open a new Tesco Express.

Ms Baartman, who is paid 38p an hour to pick apples, pears and peaches in Western Cape, protested about pay and conditions at the meeting last year. But she said yesterday that after speaking out then, she lost her job and was only re-hired after union intervention, despite assurances from Tesco that she would be protected from victimisation.

...a spokesman later mounted a robust defence of the company's behaviour which also came under attack from a War on Want resolution demanding independent auditing of foreign factories. The defeated resolution won the support of 10 per cent of shareholders.
Tesco insisted that the company had conducted ethical audits of its fruit suppliers and that farm workers were paid at rates set by the South African government.

Hmm, and I'm sure no pressure is put on govts. by Tesco to set wage levels, I am sure absolutely no lobbying has ever occurred on Tesco's behalf. Good to see the 'ethical audit' scam being punked, not so ethical as to want outside assessment is it?