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31 Mar 2023

Ethical Consumer

Produce of Exploitation: UK supermarkets and migrant labour in southern Spain

See all tags Allegations

For 20 years, migrant agricultural workers in the Almeria and Huelva regions of southern Spain have faced flagrant abuses of their basic rights. They have been refused legal wages, fired for joining unions, forced to work in unsafe conditions, shouted at for taking toilet breaks and sexually assaulted and harassed.

As a 2022 report funded by the Spanish government says, “The miracle of Spanish food exports would not exist without labour exploitation.” This is especially pronounced in Huelva and Almeria...

Research suggests that all nine of the major UK supermarkets (Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) source from Almeria and Huelva. Even from the limited information available on suppliers, most supermarkets have been linked to at least one accusation outlined in this report through their supply chains.

Supermarkets should treat the abuses as endemic and pervasive, and assume that they are present within their supply chains. They must take action to ensure workers’ rights abuses are not occurring, and work to rectify the decades of ongoing abuse...