Tesco at its AGM today had Ben Birnberg, company secretary for the anti-poverty charity War on Want, put forward a resolution calling for Tesco's supplier factories to undergo independent auditing to ensure decent pay and conditions for developing world workers.
Birnberg, however, said Tesco's opposition to the resolution reflected badly on the top retailer.'There's nothing that lowers a company in the estimation of right thinking people than a public display of executive greed in the affluent world going hand-in-hand with a public display of corporate miserliness and indifference to those at the bottom in an impoverished world, who contribute so magnificently to corporate wealth,'
Garment workers in Bangladesh, the majority of them women, were being paid just 5 pence an hour and regularly worked 80 hours a week to make cheap clothes for Britain's largest retailer, Birnberg said. His resolution called on Tesco to take appropriate measures, independently audited, to ensure workers in the developing world are guaranteed decent working conditions, a living wage, job security, freedom of association and collective bargaining including the right to join a trade union.
'The irony of the board recommending shareholders vote against our resolution to increase the meagre pay of its outsourced workers while recommending they vote for an incentive plans which will augment the already absurdly generous re-numeration packages of its top executives -- boosting the chief executive's take-home pay by up to £11.5 million on top of last year's £4.62 million-- may be lost on the board..." said Susan Seymour of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust
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