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It’s time to deliver fairness for workers employed in companies that supply meat to Tesco

5th February 2009

PHOTO CALL: Demonstrations outside Tesco stores taking place across the UK including Northern Ireland (see notes to editors)

Date: Thursday, 5th March 2009
Time: 11.00am - 1.00pm

Unite, Britain's biggest union, will continue its national demonstrations outside Tesco stores today (Thursday, 5th March). The union is warning Tesco not to use the credit crunch as an excuse not to act to deliver fairness for workers employed in companies that supply meat to Tesco

Demonstrators will leaflet customers outside nine Tesco stores across the country (London, Surrey, Bristol, Belfast, Clwyd, Northamptonshire, Manchester, Glasgow and Leeds). The demonstrators will hand out leaflets to alert customers to working conditions for workers employed by companies that supply meat to Tesco.

The union has presented Tesco with evidence that workers in its UK supply chain are experiencing harsh and divisive conditions that in some cases are abusive. Unite believes that structural discrimination exists in many parts of the supply chain that provides meat to Tesco.

As an indication of the seriousness of Unite's claims, the powerful Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced that it is to examine the UK's multi-billion pound meat industry in England and Wales for evidence of employment abuse and discrimination.

The launch is part of an ongoing campaign by Unite to improve the treatment of workers, including agency workers, in the UK supermarket supply chain. Unite is concerned that agency workers are often on poorer conditions of employment than core workers, which employers can use to undercut directly-employed workers leading to division in the workplace and damaging social cohesion.


For further information please contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

Notes to editors:

  • Tesco Demonstrations (5th March)
  • London:  361 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 0AN
  • Surrey: Reigate Road, Horley, Surrey  RH60 OAT
  • Bristol: Tesco Broadmead  90 - 98 Broadmead Bristol BS1 3DW
  • Belfast: Royal Avenue, Belfast
  • Clywd: Mold, Ponterwyl, Mold, Clwyd CH7 1UB
  • Kettering: Carina Road, Kettering, Northamptonshire NN15 6XB
  • Manchester: Tesco Express, Quay St Manchester, M3 3BB
  • Strathclyde: 229 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, Strathclyde G11 6AA
  • Leeds: Leeds Bond Street, West Riding House, Leeds LS1 5BQ

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, established in 2007, is to use its powers to undertake its first ever Inquiry into a key sector of the economy. The Inquiry will consider the two-tier employment practices within the meat supply chain, a significant industry employing some 40,000 workers across Britain engaged in processing and packing meat for sale in supermarkets and retailers across the British Isles.

The commission will be examining the relationship between employment and supply chain practices with forced down terms and conditions and abuse of workers within the sector. In particular, the commission will be examining the differentials in treatment between agency and permanent workers, UK and migrant workers, and the knock-on effect of this for community relations.

Ethical Model Factories would be based on the belief that all workers undertaking the same work, who are equally qualified, should be treated equally from the commencement of employment, including being paid equally, regardless of employment status.

Unite is also committed to ensuring agency workers have a route to permanent employment following 13 weeks of continuous work.

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