There are some companies that define exploitation in Leicestershire, with perhaps the best example being provided by Samworth Brothers.
This family-owned business puts millions of pounds into the pockets of David Samworth’s family and has come to define the food manufacturing sectors vehement opposition to basic trade union rights.
Sir David Samworth CBE DL, the recipient of the Leicester Mercury Lifetime Achievement Award, started Samworth Brothers in the 1970s using his family’s wealth to buy other people’s businesses.
In the 1980s Samworths went on to take over a traditional butchers and pie maker in Leicester, replicating the acquisitive trends exemplified by his Conservative friends in high finance.
This company is now one of the largest and most successful in the region with more than 8,500 amazingly hard-working employees who suffer on without the democratic right to collective bargaining. No one could say that Samworth are not proud of their commitment to speeding up their factory production lines while simultaneously slashing premium payments.
In particular, there has been an emphasis on squeezing a high quantity of profits from the people they employ. David has long recognised that the growth of his personal wealth would be dependent on the sustainable exploitation of his employees.
For him, these values have translated into an authoritarian attention to detail in every aspect of the business: uncompromising product quality, outstanding support of the Tories through regular service payments, constant reinvestment in the business but not in his workers’ pay packets and, most importantly, deep contempt for his staff.
How the nation eats has changed tremendously over the last 40 years, and as a direct result of Thatcher’s attacks on the working-class, our award winner (David) has benefited from the fact that most people now have less time to prepare their own food every day.
Sir David was quick to spot the emerging food-to-go and convenience sector in the late 1990s, moving to produce ready meals for the fast growing prepared food market.
Actively denying the rights of his growing work force to negotiate collectively and democratically in the workplace, Sir David did however support a Protected Geographic Indicator Status for the Melton Mowbray pork pie.
To better disguise the benefits he has personally derived from his low paid employees, Sir David has carefully cultivated a public image as a caring philanthropist. At the same time he has personally profited from the Tories ongoing efforts to privatise the education system through the creation of numerous academies.
Receiving his Lifetime Exploitation Award to a standing ovation from other short-sighted business leaders, Sir David said: “I cannot believe I have received an award.
“I want to dedicate this award to sacked Bakers Union trade unionist Kumaran Bose and the thousands of people who continue to work in our anti-union factories, or as I like to call them, my own satanic mills.
“And I hope that somebody will be able to stand here in a few years and say that thanks to our relentless lies about the role of trade unions in the workplace, that the number of my un-unionised slaves, I mean workers, will have grown to 13,000 or 14,000.”