ActionAid has teamed up with campaigning organisation 38 Degrees to make sure that British supermarkets play fair with the farmers and workers who supply our food, both in the UK and overseas. We are jointly calling for a new Private Member's Bill to set up a supermarket watchdog.
At 10am this morning, 20 MPs were randomly selected for the opportunity to draw up a new bill in Parliament. ActionAid is asking MPs from Warwick and Leamington, Castle Point, East Yorkshire and Broxtowe to sponsor a Private Member's Bill calling for the creation of a supermarket ombudsman.
Meredith Alexander, Head of Trade and Corporates at ActionAid UK, said: "Farmers and farm workers have waited too long for decent wages. Today four MPs have the opportunity to end the supermarket bullying that helps keep people poor.
"We’re asking them to use their time in parliament to launch a bill to improve the lives of supermarket suppliers here in the UK and in developing countries by controlling supermarket power."
What have we achieved so far?
2010 has already seen some concrete achievements in ActionAid’s Who Pays? campaign for a supermarket ombudsman. All three of the main political parties committed to the issue in their manifestos and Albert Owen MP’s Private Member's Bill passed uncontested through to Committee Stage before being unable to go any further due to the election. We urgently need to ensure the new government’s commitment doesn’t drop off the agenda.
By preventing supermarkets from squeezing suppliers unfairly, an independent, proactive ombudsman would give farmers and workers in poor countries a chance to improve their pay and conditions, whilst protecting quality and choice for British shoppers.
We need to keep the pressure up by getting support for new legislation to introduce an ombudsman.
photo : ©Eric Miller/Panos/ActionAid.