What has a merger between two European supermarkets got to do with the wages of global food workers? Well, it’s a great opportunity for the supermarkets to ensure living wages in their supply chains!
European supermarket giants Ahold and Delhaize recently announced their merger and announced that consumers will benefit from this and can expect lower prices. We wonder: who will pay the price for this? Price pressure is often passed down the supply chain. As a result, farmers and food workers – the most vulnerable actors in food supply chains – are generally hit the hardest by these cost reductions. These workers do not get paid a living wage, but are left with poverty wages, which is the bitter reality, for example for shrimp worker Win and tomato workers Lahcen and Fatima.
A living wage ensures that they, and their loved ones, can lead a humane life, in which their children can go to school, they can cover their rent and food, they can pay for medication and they are able to save money.
However, this merger also presents a great opportunity!
Ahold and Delhaize announced that the merger will save them around 500 million euros annually. That’s a great opportunity for them to ensure living wages now for all food workers in their supply chain! Therefore, we congratulate Ahold and Delhaize with their merger and kindly remind them to ensure living wages are paid to all workers in their supply chains (see and hear below).
The will to change
We know that Ahold is willing to move, although the supermarket giant often needs some pressure and they move slowly. Years of campaigning by the US-based Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) have finally paid off: Ahold is now in dialogue with them to discuss their participation in the CIW’s Fair Food Program (paying a penny per pound extra to ensure fair wages for the mainly migrant workers in Florida) and stated this publicly in their Annual General Meeting (AGM) last April.
During the AGM, Ahold also stated that they are ‘a socially engaged company and that that goes beyond our own stores. We also want to offer our customers products that are produced in a fair way and under good circumstances and with respect for people, animals and the environment. We actively monitor our supplies against our standards which require that they treat their workers well and with dignity and offer fair wages.’
We hope Ahold is taking this statement seriously and will back up its word with actions. The merger and the subsequent cost savings are a great opportunity for Ahold and Delhaize to act now!
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