On 27 October 2014, Eniko Horvath – a researcher on Western Europe and the UN Guiding Principles for the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre – wrote an article for leading British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ highlighting the findings from the recent Fairfood International report The fruits of their labour – The low wages behind Moroccan tomatoes sold in European supermarkets.
Horvath’s article touched on the grave concerns recently raised in Fairfood’s damning report, which revealed that major supermarkets – including Tesco and Saisnsbury’s in the UK and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands – are failing to ensure that Moroccan tomato workers in their supply chain receive a living wage. Horvath began her piece by quoting Moroccan worker Lahcen Moski, who was interviewed in a moving video about the poverty wages he receives and his inability to meet his family’s basic needs by Fairfood’s Morocco ‘hotspot’ team.
Horvath outlines the need to pay workers a living wage in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Fairfood has recently launched its Living Wage campaign, in an attempt to ensure that supermarkets take responsibility for human rights abuses, including poverty wages, in their supply chains. Companies often hide behind the woefully inadequate minimum wage set by governments. Fairfood’s Adovacy Director Eelco Fortuijn says, “The government sets the official bottom line, but a company can always decide to pay more, and should pay more, if it claims to not violate human rights.”