Lidl told us that it is taking concrete steps to introduce living wages in its supply chains! That’s great news! This August, almost 140,000 consumers signed a petition drawn up by Fairfood and SumOfUs demanding that Lidl take action to ensure living wages to all workers in their supply chains. The petition was partly a response to the report ‘Caught in a trap’ published by Fairfood in April 2015, which revealed that the shrimp sold at Lidl is peeled and processed by exploited Asian shrimp workers who earn poverty wages and work under harsh labour conditions.
Lidl has a Code of Conduct in which it indicates that it aims to pay wages that cover the cost of living in its supply chains. However, the current reality is that these wages often fall below the living wage rate. Sadly, this is not only the case in the Asian shrimp industry. In most food supply chains in developing countries, wages are extremely low, working weeks are long, labour conditions are harsh and workers live in poverty while producing the food we consume in Europe. That’s why we ask Lidl to ensure living wages to all workers in their food supply chains.
Lidl to share concrete action plan on 27 October
Fairfood has been in conversation with Lidl already for a few months to discuss the issue of living wages. Now, these conversations finally seem to have led to concrete steps. Lidl has been actively looking for ways to implement living wages. They cannot tell us yet in which supply chains or timelines, but they have promised us that they are developing concrete action plans and they told us that they will share these with us on 27 October. That’s great news and we are looking forward to seeing Lidl’s commitments. However, we will only be satisfied when Lidl shows us concrete plans including: timelines, the supply chains to be addressed and how it will guarantee that fair payments actually end up in workers’ wages.
Lidl UK already committed to living wages in Britain
We know that Lidl is able to take steps and that they are taking the issue of living wages and their employees seriously: Lidl UK has recently committed to paying living wages to its entire staff in Britain. Now it is time to take this step forward and work on the implementation of living wages to all workers in their global food chains. We are looking forward to 27 October to see if Lidl is indeed taking these almost 140,000 worried consumers seriously. So stay tuned!