The Labor Party's red roses, which Jens Stoltenberg and party members distributed on streets and squares during the election campaign, are produced on a rose farm in Zambia where workers are not allowed to form free unions.
- I am sorry to note that the farm in question Esquire Roses Farm does not comply with human rights and the ICC (International Code of Conducts). The farm is not organized and does not allow free unions, says Godgridah Manjomba of the national union for agricultural workers in Zambia.
- If it is as Ny Tid says, then this is very unfortunate, comments information manager Tommy Skar in the Labor Party.
- It is an elementary right and part of human rights that workers can form unions, says LO secretary Ellen Stensrud.
- A shame
The last week before the election, Øyvind Slåke at the Aps election campaign office in Oslo said that the party had received assurances from the flower company Walldén Moum that the roses they bought from them were produced under reasonable conditions in Africa.
However, the wholesale company Primaflor in Oslo, which imported the Labor Party roses from two companies in Zambia and one in Ethiopia, admitted to Ny Tid that they could not provide such a 100 percent guarantee.
Slightly reluctant, Primaflor stated the name of one of the rose farms that served the Labor Party with the entire 250.000 long-standing red roses during the election campaign. The farm is called Esquire Roses Farm Ltd. and is located in Zambia.
- It is a shame that a social democratic party has not actively ensured that the roses they buy come from farmers who guarantee good social and professional standards, said leader Frank Brassel in the international flower campaign (IFC) just before the parliamentary election (see Ny Tid number 32) .
- Never been uneasy
Brassel then stated that Esquire Roses Farm is not on IFC's list of flower farms affiliated with the "Flower Label Program", a certification scheme that guarantees producers compliance with acceptable social and environmental standards.
Beyond this, Brassel did not know the details of the rose farm. To find out more about the conditions at Esquire Roses Farm, Ny Tid therefore contacted the Zambian farm under the guise of being interested in importing their roses.
Rosefarmen's director, Alpesh Patel, responded with a supplementary fax about the price and quality of the roses they produce, as well as assurances that they follow rules and guidelines issued by the authorities in Zambia and MPS, an environmental protection organization in the Netherlands.
About the workforce, Patel wrote the following in his fax:
"There has been no labor unrest on our farm, and we do not expect any (in the future)."
- Not correct
A few days later, the director of Rosefarm elaborated on this with the following information by telephone:
- We have unions on our farm and have never had any problems with. . .
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