Campaigners protesting against the inhumane working conditions and long working hours in the flower industry handed out fair trade flowers produced under the Flower Label Program to European Parliamentarians in Brussels, 1 June to urge them to support a campaign for socially and environmentally sound flower production.
The Flower Label Program is supported by several European Non Governmental Organisations as well as the European Union and Austria’s Development Agency. The market share of fair trade flowers is still small.The fair trade label of the Flower Label Program is applied to flowers grown by workers who have rights to organise themselves into unions. Plantations certified to apply the label also have to implement measures against the discrimination of workers. The label also provides a guarantee that salaries are paid in accordance with national law and collective bargaining agreements and that workers have long-term contracts, social security and protection against pesticides. Demand in Europe for off-season flowers from developing countries is increasing. Europe imports 50% of the world’s cut flowers according to the NGO network, SOLIDAR. The NGOs who are backing the Flower Program Label say that those who work in the flower industry, who are often women, face inhumane working conditions, exposure to toxic chemicals and long working hours.