Wednesday, 1 July 2009

‘Supermarket fuels racism in meat sector’

Next Friday, British union Unite will table a resolution at the Annual General Meeting of supermarket chain Tesco, criticising the company for allowing exploitation of migrant agency workers in its UK meat and poultry supply chains. While the resolution is unlikely to be passed, it will be supported by a number of institutional investors, The Guardian reports.
Unite says that agency workers at meat factories, most of them migrants, are routinely paid less and treated worse than permanent staff. This would damage race relations and fuel racism, which would be exploited by ‘bootboys’ of the far right BNP.
According to The Guardian, the resolution is the culmination of a four-year campaign by Unite “in which the labour movement has been forced to reinvent itself as it tries to find new levers of power in a globalised, post-Thatcher world.” In 2005, it hired new organisers, some of Polish and Portuguese descent, to organise the meat sector. By now it represents three-quarters of workers in the British poultry industry, many of them immigrants. It also bought sufficient shares in ‘more than one’ supermarket group to table resolutions.
Photo: Jordi Martorell

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