The bosses at Samworth Brothers certainly know how to maximise their own profits at their employees’ expense. And when Samworth’s fat cats are not busy gorging on Melton Mowbray pies, or intimidating and bullying their hardworking employees, they are also busy forging alliances with Conservative politicians who are keen to lend them a helping hand in their nefarious activities.
With many of Samworth’s workers actually based in the constituency of millionaire Tory MP, Sir Alan Duncan (Melton and Rutland), the food company’s glutinous owners are quite content with supporting Sir Alan’s efforts to keep so-called “low achievers” in their place.
Thus, in addition to giving hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservative Party in recent years, Mark Samworth has lined the pockets for former oil trader, Sir Duncan, with a further £7,500 in political donations.
With Sir Alan’s elitist belief that the majority of the working-class are “low achievers” there can be no doubt that he is a concerted enemy of all workers. Yet his despicable orientation towards the British population is nothing new: Sir Alan has spent the past year consistently supporting the Tories’ anti-democratic Trade Union Bill, which seeks “to legislate to limit the ability of unions to operate as free, civil society organisations.”
Perhaps then it is not surprising, that, in 1997, the national media revealed that Sir Alan was counted as a leading member of the “Le Cercle, a right-wing think-tank set up at the height of the Cold War for senior politicians, diplomats and intelligence agents which is one of the most influential, secretive, and, it goes without saying, exclusive political clubs in the West.” (28 June 1997, The Independent)
In spite of Sir Alan’s longstanding commitment to ruling-class interests and eroding the human rights of workers (both in this country and in others), ironically enough he often speaks in favour of Fairtrade — which among other things aims to help promote “decent working conditions for hired labour.”
Indeed, despite the presence of various anti-union employees (like Samworth Brothers), since 2007 Melton Mowbray has held the honoured title of being a Fairtrade town.
Again this contradiction is unsurprising as the town’s main source of Fairtrade produce is The Fairtrading Post shop which is based at the Samworth Centre – a centre, which as the name suggests, has been financially backed by the profits obtained from the low-pay of workers employed by Samworth Brothers.
Getting a little overexcited about his town’s commitment to treating workers fairly, in 2011, speaking at a celebration event at the Samworth Centre, Sir Alan said: “Fairtrade really matters as it helps lift people out of poverty.” (March 7, Melton Times)
Certainly the workers at the factories owned by the Samworth Brothers would appreciate it if their management voluntarily adopted the principles undergirding the idea of Fairtrade and the decent and fair treatment of all their workers.
But what is certain is that such a positive change will not happen unless the workers successfully organise to ensure that their bosses are forced to recognise their democratic right to negotiate the future of their pay and conditions within a trade union.