Food giant paves way for higher pay in the fieldsNovember 2009
The world’s largest catering business has become the latest company to agree new labour standards with Florida’s tomato pickers in a deal that could increase wages by two-thirds.
The Compass Group, which buys ten million pounds of tomatoes annually, will pay 1.5 cents (about 1p) extra per pound to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a south Florida farmworkers’ organization. One cent will go directly to workers.
The policy will boost wages from 50 to 82 cents (30p-50p) per 32lb bucket of tomatoes. The decision also binds Compass to a strict code of conduct to monitor working hours and employee safety in its supply chain. East Coast Growers and Packers, Florida’s third-largest tomato grower, has already agreed to Compass’s terms.
The agreement is the latest in a series between businesses and the CIW. This time last year the US supermarket chain Whole Foods Market agreed to pay an extra ‘penny-per-pound’ for tomatoes (EP10, issue 6, p7), and the fast-food outlets Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell have all signed similar agreements.
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