Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Clean up your act, Tesco!...
...and stop being arseholes. Two of my very best friends come from Bulgaria and they are both kind and idealistic young people. Which is why when I read in this morning's Guardian that Bulgarian workers in Cornwall had been "forced to 'live like pigs on scraps', scavenging vegetables from the fields when their Latvian gangmaster withheld their pay for 34 days" I nearly puked. This is Cornwall, for pity's sake, where I used to go on summer holidays and eat Cornish pasties and drink scrumpy.
"They were sent to work through a subcontracting chain at Southern England Farms, a leading vegetable farming and packing company that appears on Tesco's website as one of its flagship local producers of courgettes, cauliflowers and cabbage. They were housed in dirty caravans, with seven trying to sleep in a six-berth van in one example. They were initially charged £50 a week each for this overcrowded accommodation."
What the fuck? Is Tesco's now owned by the descendants of Heinrich Himmler? Are the British to be able to eat cheap food because subcontractors of Tesco's run forced labour camps in the 21st century? Have we become a nation that turns a blind eye to blatant abuses of minimal human rights? In 2006 Tesco's made 2.21 billion pounds profit partly on the back of forced labour. This is a company that shames the reputation of Britain. What about the many British farmers who are also screwed by Tesco's greed and indifference to whether or not they can make a living? Get your act together, Tesco and stop acting like a corporate parasite. Sir Terry Leahy, if you have any honour, do something about this latest Tesco scandal or resign. I remember when Tesco closed down their store in the centre of Cardiff and made a killing. They have not changed a bit.
Friends of the Earth