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Aldi’s Special Bargains from China
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 11:31

Aldi’s special bargains from China

Violation of Labour and Women’s Rights in the Discount Business

SÜDWIND Institut für Ökonomie und Ökumene (part of the German CCC) published a study on the labour conditions in supplier factories of the Aldi Group. The research carried out in Chinese factories that supply special bargains to the biggest German discounter, uncovered massive rights violations. The report, "Aldi's Special Bargains from China", calls upon  Aldi and politicians to take effective action to address these problems.

Every year, Aldi, the top German discount retailer, offers consumers about 2,500 special bargains such as computers, bicycles, guitars, blenders and textiles at sensationally low prices. In 2008, these sales made up 20% of the company's overall estimated sales of €35 billion. More than 40% of Aldi’s special bargains originated from China in 2008.

Special bargains have become a key element in the fierce competition of grocery retailing. These bargains succeed in attracting more and more consumers while above all pushing specialist traders from the market.The purchase of special bargains is governed by the principle of price reduction at any cost.

“Special bargains in discounters are intricately linked to the violation of labour and women’s rights in global supplier factories,” said Ingeborg Wick, researcher at SÜDWIND and author of the report.

Together with partners in China, she carried out research on the labour conditions in factories in South China supplying Aldi with ICT goods, household appliances, cosmetics and textiles. They uncovered extensive violations. “The mostly female employees worked up to 91 hours per week and yet were hardly able to make a living from their meager wages. The work load is enormous, and mistakes are being punished by fines. Fundamental labour and women’s rights such as the right to maternity leave and to freedom of association are being suppressed,” said Wick. These violations are typical in labour-intensive industries in China because of the price pressure by buyers from industrialized countries.

Earlier, in spring 2007, SÜDWIND published a study on Aldi’s suppliers in the garment sector. To date, Aldi’s response to rights violations in their supply chains has been insufficient. The new SÜDWIND study is an input to ongoing CCC campaigning to push retailers to take responsibility for conditions in their garment supply chain. The report also aims to be an input into efforts to strengthen cross-sector initiatives to intensify the pressure on discounters and political decision-makers in favour of a binding corporate global accountability.

Download the complete study in German:
http://www.suedwind-institut.de/downloads/2009-02_SW_ALDI-Studie-2.pdf

Download an extract of the publication:
http://www.suedwind-institut.de/downloads/eng_sw_china_aldi-2_extract.pdf

 
 
 

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