Memorandum submitted by Marks and Spencer
1. Marks & Spencer takes great care
in choosing the companies who supply us directly with goods and
services and with whom we aim to build long-term partnerships.
From the start we require each supplier to implement our Global
Sourcing Principles (GSP) which establish a minimum acceptable
entry standard. As our business relationship develops, we expect
the supplier steadily to raise standards and improve working conditions,
taking account of internationally recognised standards.
Suppliers must not only apply these principles
at all times, but must also be able to show they are doing so.
We will take action against suppliers, who do not comply, which
may involve cancelling our orders and ceasing to trade. More detail
on our Global Sourcing Principles in Annex1.
2. To further strengthen our position in
1999, we joined the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The ETI
is a Government led initiative made up of companies, non-Government
organisations, (NGO's) and trade unions committed to working together
to identify and promote good practice in the implementation of
codes of conduct in the workplace. Our membership commits us to:
Ensuring our GSP are being complied
Striving to comply with the ETI Base
Code across our supply base.
Having a demonstrable programme of
continuous improvement in place through the supply chain.
Clearly, we can only achieve this by working
together with our supply base.
3. Marks and Spencer are very concerned
about problems associated with the employment practices of agencies,
(Gangmasters), that provide temporary labour to packers, producers
and manufactures in the UK food and Agricultural industry. We
have become increasingly aware of the difficulties for our suppliers,
in employing legal labour. In 2001 we introduced Guidelines on
the employment of labour and required all suppliers to confirm
that the Agencies they used were reputable and had good practices
in place. A copy of the guidelines is in Annex 2.
4. To increase understanding of this issue
we encouraged the ETI and helped facilitate two regional public
seminars in April and May 2002, on seasonal and foreign labour
in the UK food Industry. One of the main outcomes of the seminars
was the formation of a representative cross industry group including
Retailers, Producer Groups and Suppliers, Agencies, Trade Unions
and Government Departments to look at ways of tackling this issue.
The ETI Working Party has submitted written Evidence to the Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs select committee on our activities to date.
The working party is focussed on the following tasks:
Draft, trial and disseminate a code
of practice for Gangmasters.
Define a system of implementation
of the Code of Practice including independent verification of
the observance of the Code of Practice by Gangmasters.
Draft a good practice "tool
kit" for Gangmasters.
Identify Gangmasters willing to trial
the code and explore the merits of a Gangmaster professional association.
5. During 2002 Marks and Spencer, and one
of our suppliers in Kent, were asked by Kent Organised Crime squad,
(Detective Constable David Ecuyer), to help with their investigation,
of the directors of a recruitment agency and their accomplices,
who had been providing hundreds of illegal workers to large agricultural
suppliers or producers. Marks and Spencer, our supplier and the
Ethical Trading Initiative have submitted statements and the trial
is due to start this summer. Through the Kent police Marks and
Spencer and the Ethical Initiative became further aware of the
scale of the problem and the importance of the ETI working parties
activities and the need for legislation to be passed to enable
the statutory registration of providers of temporary labour.
Marks and Spencer
30 May 2003