M&S targeted by giant chicken

VIDEO Protestors are today continuing their campaign against supermarkets after voicing their concerns in Ipswich town centre.Members of workers' union Unite dressed up as chickens outside Marks & Spencer yesterday and told them to “practice what you preach”.

PROTESTORS are today continuing their campaign against supermarkets after voicing their concerns in Ipswich town centre.

Members of workers' union Unite dressed up as chickens outside Marks & Spencer yesterday and told them to “practice what you preach”.

They say the retail giant places misleading information on its food product labels and has failed to take action against suppliers who exploit their workforce - despite building an image as an ethical retailer.

Marks & Spencer strongly denies any wrongdoing and say they are “at a loss” to understand why the union is taking such action.


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Armed with banners, leaflets and a loudspeaker, the campaigners claimed a two-tier workforce has been created in the meat supply industry whereby migrant agency workers endure poorer conditions than those permanently employed.

Mick Duncan, Unite's senior organiser for East Anglia, said: “We have been campaigning to get big supermarkets like Marks & Spencer to sign up to an agreement to set minimum standards for pay and conditions for chicken workers and to label products more clearly. We want a guarantee that those workers are being treated ethically.”

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He also said that some labelling may appear to state that the meat is from the UK, but in reality the small print often says it has been sourced from elsewhere in the world.

He added: “If consumers know where the food comes from they can make a fair choice.”

Passer-by John Winter, 20, of Norwich Road, said he thought the protest was a positive “grass roots” movement against large corporations.

He said: “It is nice to see people get out here and raise awareness of these issues. Many people are living in a bubble. Some supermarkets put on a green front but it is not always quite that ethical.”

Georgia Frost, a spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer, said: “Unite's claims are very misleading. For all fresh meat we put the Country of Origin on the front of pack.

“Where the product is prepared, for example, a chicken ready meal, we show Country of Origin on the back of the pack. The majority of our fresh meat is British or Irish.

“We are at a loss to understand why Unite continues to single us out when they know this and are extremely disappointed and surprised at the action Unite is taking.”

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