£2 Valentine flowers poverty alert

13 February 2009 - 4:11pm
Press release

The British supermarket chain Asda came under fire today over claims that workers earn a living wage supplying Valentine's flowers on sale in its stores for £2 a dozen.

Asda insists the roses are ethically sourced from Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, with employees paid a living wage of £35 a month.

But two years ago in the report Growing Pains, the charity War on Want said Kenyan workers cited a living wage as £50 a month.

Now its partner, the Kenyan Women Workers' Organisation, warns that amid rising prices of maize, wheat and rice, workers need well above £50 a month to meet essential household bills and support their families.

A third of all blooms sold in Europe come from Kenya. Most of the country's flower workers are single mothers, struggling to raise children with one income.

Many staff engaged in repeated tasks and exposed to pesticides without adequate protection report sickness, including swollen legs, backache, vomiting and chest pains. Employees are more likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries in the run-up to Valentine's Day as they work longer hours to meet heavier demand.

Casualisation of labour is another problem. Three in four Kenyan staff are on temporary contracts that deny them basic employment rights such as maternity leave.

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "Asda's ethical claims for its £2 a dozen roses are a blooming cheek. Most Kenyan women supplying flowers for British supermarkets face hard lives trying to make ends meet on poverty wages. The UK government must show it cares for Kenyan flower workers by introducing regulation to ensure a living wage and decent work."


NEWS HOOK: Valentine's Day Saturday, 14 February 2009

NOTE TO EDITORS:
• Growing Pains can be downloaded here
• War on Want's research last year can be downloaded here

 

]]>

A Living Wage for Workers

The right to be paid a living wage is a basic entitlement of all working people the world over, whether they work in the public or private sectors, in the global South or North.

Latest news

National action for trade democracy

23 November 2017 - 2:30pm

Join a two day mobilisation to build the campaign for trade democracy, organised by Global Justice Now and War on Want.

Thanks to the hard work of activists on the ground, and the brazenness of the government, trade democracy is climbing up the political agenda. Over 100 MPs have signed an EDM calling for increased parliamentary scrutiny over trade deals. The SNP are calling for Scotland to have its own trade policy. People don’t want chlorinated chicken flooding UK supermarkets. Now is the time to strengthen the campaign for trade democracy.

Read more

Watch videos of "Paradises of the Earth" Web Documentary - Tunisia

23 November 2017 - 8:15am

First Episode - Gabes: Watch now!

This episode follows an international solidarity caravan to the first stop of the trip: the mediterranean oasis of Gabes in southern #Tunisia, where the installation of a chemical phosphate factory on its shores caused an ecocide deeply impacting fishing, agriculture, water resources and people's livelihoods.

Read more

Join the conversation

RT @unitetheunion: #SportsDirectShame back in action | With the proposed £11m back pay for Ashley's brother, what about the outstanding bac… 12 hours 56 min ago
The people of Jemna are fighting for their right to work on their ancestral land. See their struggle in Paradises o… https://t.co/NKPCwqm7fT 13 hours 15 min ago
RT @novaramedia: TODAY 1PM #NovaraFM Climate and Capital after COP23 with @piercepenniless @chilledasad100 and @zoozanne. You can listen l… 16 hours 37 min ago