Our shopping: the
hidden cost to others
Presentation by Gavin Barker
Based on the Who Pays?
Report by ActionAid
EVERY WEEK IN BRITAIN, 32 MILLION PEOPLE SHOP
What we see:
Value for money
But don’t be fooled. What we don’t see
What we pay is only part of the price.
WHAT WE DON’T SEE
The big four supermarkets
Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda
and Safeway have
acquired staggering levels
of economic power in
recent years which they
use cajole suppliers into
their size and power
to bully suppliers.
Risks and costs are
passed on and prices
forced through the
....in turn, Suppliers
work offload the pressures
on to workers...
subcontractors in the
TAKE A LOOK AT BRITAIN’S
It’s a ‘known-value item’, a key product that
consumers use to compare prices between
In 2002, a price war broke out between the big four
which saw the retail price of Bananas drop from £1.08
per kilo to 66p per kilo.
Good for the consumer? Thank ASDA!
They signed a deal with Del Monte who had already
slashed the pay rate of its piece rate workers by
40%. Other supermarkets followed ASDA and the
„Del Monte model‟ became standard across Costa
Rica and the whole banana industry.
SO THE NEXT TIME YOU BUY A BUNCH OF BANANAS,
THINK ABOUT THIS:
Plantation worker gets 2.5% of what
The typical working day is between 12 and 15
hours, to achieve a daily minimum wage of
3 month temporary contracts are the norm.
This minimises pay & workers rights and
absolves the employer of paying any social
Increasingly, suppliers resort to
subcontractors to reduce costs still
Workers are exposed to
dangerous pesticides, especially
women who get the worst jobs.
CASHEW NUTS ARE ANOTHER
FAVOURITE FOOD ITEM
A kilo of cashew nuts retails for £9
or more in a UK supermarket.
BUT GUESS WHO GETS WHAT?
For every pound shoppers spend on cashews in British
supermarkets, just one penny goes to the women
Wages have gone down, not up: a dire piece
rate is compounded by the common practice
of under weighing workers produce
This is because the relentless downward
pressure on costs has spawned a whole
industry of illegal subcontractors who
have undercut factories that ensure
minimum wages and working conditions.
Meanwhile the big UK retailers sell
cashews for over twice the price they go
for in specialist Asian shops
Poor pay is matched by terrible
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF PRODUCTION
The extracts below are from a report by ActionAid with regard to cashew
workers in India: the quotes are workers talking about their experiences.
Click here for report
Oil released during the cashew shelling “the oil burns, but I‟m used to
process is highly caustic, leading to the pain now. I have to be”
dermatitis, blistering and discoloration of
In addition to the corrosive oil, acrid
“When there are more
smoke released by the cashew
workers, they will make us sit in
roasting process also causes health
the smoke-filled sheds where they
problems. One survey conducted in
fry the nuts and it
2003 found that 45% of cashew
workers experience respiratory illness
In most cashew factories, women sit in a
squatting position on mud or concrete floors. All
the women workers interviewed by ActionAid say “I have severe pain in
they or their colleagues suffer from pains in their my toes and knees and
leg muscles, backs and knee joints, and that sometimes back pain,”
many women damage their uteruses through Bindi says. “But I have to
squatting for long periods work to fend for myself
and my family.”
AGAIN, IT’S WOMEN WORKERS WHO SUFFER MOST
The extracts below are from a report by ActionAid with regard to cashew workers in India:
the quotes are workers talking about their experiences. Click here for report
In order to minimise costs and
“I‟m paid four rupees a maximise profits, employers in
kilo, my mother worked
India‟s cashew industry prefer “The responsibility for the
in the cashew factories
but she became ill, I‟ve women who have nowhere else to children has always lain on
had to take on the turn for income to feed their my shoulders, my husband is
responsibility for families. Many have little choice often out and he does not
providing for our but to accept unfair pay and hear their cries of hunger.
family… We have no Men just don‟t understand
other money coming these things. They take for
in.” 15 year old girl granted that there is food
working in a cashew in the house.”
“There are 150 people working at
my factory. All of them except for
six are women. But the men take
the best jobs, with the