Published: 12/02/2009

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and the IUF affiliated Catering and Hotel Industries Employees General Union (CHIEGU) have joined unions supporting the T&G section of the UK’s Unite campaign for equal treatment for meat workers employed in the UK and Ireland in transnational retail giant Tesco’s supply chain.


Demonstrating outside the Tesco International distribution centre, CHIGEU general secretary Juo So in, called on Tesco to ensure that its suppliers adhered to minimum standards for all workers, including fair treatment for agency workers, adding that the union intended to look more closely into conditions for workers in companies in Hong Kong supplying to Tesco. The demonstrators presented Tesco International Sourcing Centre with a letter for Tesco CEO Terry Leahy.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 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.

Unite joint general secretary, Tony Woodley, said: ‘We believe that Tesco’s procurement practices are creating divisions between mainly migrant agency workers and mainly indigenous permanent workers across Britain and Ireland. We’re asking Tesco customers to play their part and sign our petition to Terry Leahy, Tesco’s chief executive.

‘We believe the supermarkets desire to source meat more cheaply is contributing to a race to the bottom in the UK supply chain’.

‘Unite is calling on Tesco to use its influence to ensure companies in its meat supply chain sign a minimum standards agreement and to establish Tesco Ethical Model Factories’.