Ethical bag claims dubbed 'disingenuous'

17 May 2007
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18 May 2007 | Gareth Mytton

A campaign group maintains its claims that Sainsbury's designer bags are "unethical", but will not take the matter further.

Martin Hearson, campaign co-ordinator for Labour Behind the Label, whose members include Unison and Oxfam, questioned the retailer's claim that local workers had not been exploited when producing the "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" product. He added its claims were "disingenuous".

"It depends on your definition of exploited," he said. "There are legal problems with sourcing in China. In particular, workers aren't allowed to form a trade union."

"Sainsbury's needs to be a bit more concrete about what the workers are actually paid," he added.

In response, Sainsbury's stood by a statement that said it was "absolutely committed to sourcing with integrity" and took the matter seriously at every stage in its production process.

A spokesman said: "The bags were not manufactured with 'cheap' labour, nor were local workers exploited. The factory pays almost double the Chinese minimum wage for that province, and complies with all aspects of Chinese labour law."

Sainsbury's also said it would not be pursuing the matter.


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