// Lidl reveals new measures to protect workers’ rights in its global supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic
// Includes providing more supplier info, steps to prevent modern slavery & a tackling wages that fall short of a living wage
// The commitments follow months of campaigning by nearly 40,000 Oxfam supporters
Lidl has reportedly announced new measures to protect the rights of overseas workers in its global supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic.
The measures include strengthening its policy on human rights, providing more information about its suppliers, taking steps to prevent modern slavery and to ensure equal treatment for women, and a promise to tackle wages of workers which fall well short of a living wage.
The commitments follow months of campaigning by nearly 40,000 Oxfam supporters in both the UK and The Netherlands.
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Retail Gazette has contacted Lidl for comment.
Oxfam said the German supermarket chain is one of the largest food retailers in the world, with more than 10,000 stores in 32 countries.
Lidl is currently bottom of Oxfam’s Behind the Barcodes scorecard, which assesses the policies and practices needed to ensure that human and labour rights are fully respected in supermarkets’ global food supply chains.
With an overall score of just nine per cent, Lidl had previously made the least progress since Oxfam’s campaign was launched in 2018.
“For the first time, Lidl has promised specific steps to ensure fair and equal treatment for women,” Oxfam ethical trade manager Rachel Wilshaw said.
“We are particularly encouraged by this change, as over the last two years, Lidl has scored zero points in our assessment of their policies to protect women workers.
“We know that women tend to be clustered in the lowest-paid and least secure jobs in food supply chains, so this acknowledgement has the potential to transform lives.”
Oxfam said it would continue to engage with Lidl to ensure the new policies benefit workers in the supermarket’s supply chains.
The charity’s Behind the Barcodes campaign aims to improve the lives of the millions around the world producing food for supermarkets, many of whom are trapped in poverty and face brutal working conditions.
In the UK, the campaign is focused on the six major UK grocers: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl.
“We are all very grateful for the role supermarkets and their staff in the UK are playing to provide food and support during the coronavirus crisis,” Wilshaw said.
“At the same time, it’s important that the rights of vulnerable workers in poor countries who produce our food are protected and we welcome this significant progress from Lidl during this time of disruption.”