ParcelForced Labour?

If you open your door to a delivery man, you could be looking at a slave.

Cleaners and delivery drivers in the gig economy are being subject to financial penalties for not showing up for work – that’s beyond docking the pay for work not done: it’s a fine on top. According to the Guardian, . . . → Read More: ParcelForced Labour?

How much is a human being worth?

Over recent months the government has declared that employees (including bosses) should be neither over-paid nor under-paid. That’s fine – but how do you judge what is too much or too little?

It turns out that at the top, the level of pay for CEOs currently bears no relationship to performance, as measured by return . . . → Read More: How much is a human being worth?

Is Plan A a stitch-up? Or just over-spun?

Labour Behind the Label has released a report that criticises the achievements of H&M and M&S in their clothing supply chains.

M&S in particular comes off in a bad light. Its 2010 Plan A commitment to deliver a living wage appears to have failed. What the report establishes is that workers in key parts of . . . → Read More: Is Plan A a stitch-up? Or just over-spun?

Can you audit your way out of slavery, or do you have to pay the price?

Channel 4’s report on conditions for fruit packers reveals regular, awful treatment of the workers supplying the supermarkets.

No doubt all the supermarkets’ suppliers are regularly audited to guard against just this sort of exploitation. So what has gone wrong? The immediate answer is that the ‘unannounced, random audits’ were not nearly random or unannounced . . . → Read More: Can you audit your way out of slavery, or do you have to pay the price?

The price of a cup of tea

The BBC’s investigation of workers’ conditions on tea plantations in Assam makes depressing reading. The squalor and poverty behind one of the world’s favourite drinks is appalling.

It is striking that the response of Unilever, a company often held up as a beacon of responsibility and sustainability, is so weak. According to the BBC, Unilever . . . → Read More: The price of a cup of tea

Asda: discounting women?

It may not be quite two women for the price of one man, but Asda appears to have a problem with equal pay. The wider Walmart group, of which Asda is the UK arm has a long history of troubled labour relations – but you might expect a better outcome in the UK, since it . . . → Read More: Asda: discounting women?

Amazon: a tale of zero-rights contracts

What makes a good retailer? Is it minimal packaging? Is it community donations? Or is it being able to use the toilet?

The answer, of course, must be all three. But while Amazon has worked on packaging and giving money away, it is working too hard on making it in the first place. According to . . . → Read More: Amazon: a tale of zero-rights contracts

Time for in-sourcing?

The new accord between retailers and unions on worker safety clearly represents progress. Particularly because it involves unions directly. But it also raises big questions on how far there is to go.

Firstly, of course, how many retailers will actually sign up to it? That has been the media focus so far. But then, what . . . → Read More: Time for in-sourcing?

CSR jobsworth

Why is the CSR industry silent on Beecroft? The Beecroft Report recommends that companies should be able to sack workers as soon as they have hired them.

Is CSR above politics – or rather afraid of it? Your view of this will partly depend on whether you agree with the Institute of Directors that this . . . → Read More: CSR jobsworth

Anti-suicide pledges are not the way forward

Foxconn seems to have a problem with its workforce. The whole working environment – including pay and the treatment of its workforce are too much for its workers: they are taking their own lives.

This is a global problem. Foxconn makes parts for Apple and Sony. There are other Chinese companies with similar problems. And . . . → Read More: Anti-suicide pledges are not the way forward