Saturday, 2 February 2008

Greens call for boycott of Starbucks

Picture: From left to right, Ashley Gunstock, Mark Dawes

Members of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party protested at the opening of the new Starbucks coffee shop in Wanstead and called for people to boycott Starbucks and use local coffee shops. They leafleted local people outside the premises warning of the threat to local, independent coffee shops and cafes. The majority of people supported the campaign not wanting to see Wanstead become another clone town full of multinational chains.

There is a record of the opening of Starbucks leading to the closure of local coffee shops and local people are concerned that this could happen in Wanstead too. Local coffee shop owners also supported the campaign being concerned about the effect on their businesses.

There are other concerns about Starbucks too:
· Starbucks is a major player in the global coffee industry that results in the impoverishment of thousands of workers in the developing world.
· Starbucks pays lip service to Fair Trade when genuine commitment could lift coffee producers out of poverty.
· Starbucks domination and unethical business practices, such as "clustering" that results in a Starbucks monopoly, has resulted in the closure of numerous small coffee shops.
· Starbucks treat their workers poorly. The staff are paid just above the minimum wage and are subject to excessive working hours and unpaid overtime.

"Wanstead is a great place, full of character with a variety of local coffee shops and cafes but this is being threatened by the arrival of chains such as Starbucks" said Havering and Redbridge GLA Green Party candidate Ashley Gunstock. "We will continue to campaign for a boycott of Starbucks and also against the proposed KFC which could also have a further detrimental effect on the High Street" he added.