The Fairtrade Foundation takes very seriously any evidence of major non-compliance with Fairtrade standards on certified farms. We have urgently requested details of the allegations from the Daily Mirror, to enable us to investigate their findings more thoroughly, but have not yet received these and therefore cannot comment on the specifics at this time.
Fairtrade is committed to the improvement of working conditions and empowerment of workers on flower farms in Kenya. There is a strict and transparent process of regular Fairtrade audits which check that the relevant legal minimum or industry agreed wages (or above) are being paid to workers on flower farms. We are committed to a continuing process of improvement, and to stay certified farms must take action to remedy any non-compliance.
In Eastern Africa, low wage levels are one of the biggest structural challenges across the region. In many countries, official or legal minimum wage levels and industry norms are still falling far short of what would be considered an adequate living wage. In recognition of this, Fairtrade recently revised and relaunched our own Hired Labour Standard. This is specifically to establish and drive faster progress towards Living Wage benchmarks, to strengthen freedom of association and processes of collective bargaining by workers, and also give workers more flexibility to use Fairtrade premiums as additional cash support.
Fairtrade is delivering many other benefits to workers on certified farms, including improvements to working conditions, plus additional Fairtrade premiums that have been invested in bursaries to support the continuing education of workers’ children, and alternative income generation projects. In Naivasha, Fairtrade certified flower farms have also pooled premiums from sales of Fairtrade flowers towards the construction of the new Women’s Hospital in the area. We therefore urge businesses and the public to continue their support for Fairtrade flowers, in order to drive the positive changes that workers and their communities are striving towards.
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