In July, members of the UK Parliament, Hon. James Sheridan and Hon. Ian Lavery, were invited by the FLOC to visit North Carolina and witness firsthand the abuses and the conditions in NC tobacco fields. North Carolina tobacco workers plant, harvest, and process tobacco for multinational tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco, which owns 42% of Winston-Salem based, Reynolds American, Inc. Now they are releasing a report about their visit in the halls of government in the United Kingdom, as they call on their colleagues in Parliament to sign an Early Day Motion, which will call on British American Tobacco to use its influence to guarantee labor rights within its supply chain. The Report is titled: A Smokescreen for Slavery: Human Rights Abuses in UK Supply Chains.
The report, available below, documents serious human rights violations that the two MPs learned of after talking to FLOC members in the labor camps, the tobacco fields and in the FLOC union hall in Dudley, NC.
The report was launched at an event at the Palace of Westminster Wednesday morning, where the two MPs were joined by 15 members of parliament, from the labor party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Social Democratic Labor Party as well as two members of the Scottish Parliament. The MPs were also joined by 14 members of different organizations such as Unite the Union, GMB Union, War on Want, the Evangelical Alliance, Humans Right Watch, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business.
Their presence in NC and solidarity with workers across the Atlantic ocean are crucial, as pressure builds to guarantee labor rights in the global supply chains of tobacco giants throughout the world.
On behalf of the FLOC membership and tobacco workers all over the region, we give sincere thanks to Mr. Sheridan and Lavery and all of the global labor allies assisting in making the fight in North Carolina a global fight!