In June, we re-registered with the Fairtrade Foundation as a Fairtrade church. During the pandemic, the foundation has been focusing on trade justice. Businesses and governments worldwide have been taking advantage of the situation e.g. taking away worker’s rights or refusing to pay for their contracts. In some Indian states, labour laws are not being kept e.g. the minimum wage is not being paid. Health and Safety rules are being relaxed so workers are more vulnerable and receive less pay. This has also happened to textile workers in the E Midlands. Some UK fast fashion brands have been refusing to pay for their orders, affecting workers in Bangladesh.
Traidcraft Exchange is the fairtrade charity we support. It is an independent company but has a link with Traidcraft plc. Ruth sent £200 to the charity in April from donations she had received. We weren’t able to top this up this year, due to reduced sales and losses on out of date stock.
The charity has just published their annual review. They highlight 5 points:
£1 million has been raised to help people to use the power of trade to work their way out of poverty.
4,320 women in the Bangladesh jute sector have increased their income by 50%.
800 people in Bangladesh & India have been supported to leave modern slavery for good.
21,000 home-workers, paid as little as 30p a day, will benefit from work started in 2020, aiming for fairer pay, safer working conditions and proper recognition in the supply chain.
A scheme running in Tanzania to help farmers living with a disability, to join a support group and improve their income and self esteem.
As there was no prospect of any fair trade sales for a long time, Ruth sold or gave away our remaining stock at the beginning of lockdown. As her neighbour works at the hospital, her nursing team enjoyed the cookies, chocolate bars, coffee etc. All Traidcraft staff were furloughed.
The situation for the company is now improving. Staff are starting to return from furlough. Although churches are not holding sales, small independent shops are now ordering goods and a new catalogue is out If you’d like one, or to order a favourite item(s) e.g. ginger cookies, please contact Sheila Hawley (811646), who will deliver it to you. Don’t forget a well known food store in Stone also sells a range of fair-trade products AND the church stall will return!