We\’ve got a shock horror story from Felicity Lawrence over at The Guardian. The terribly low rates of pay for pineapple workers.
Even made it to a Guardian editorial. And here\’s the takeaway line:
workers get just 4p of each pound spent on a supermarket pineapple, the plantation owners (who are often the traders) 55p, and the retailer 41p.
Expect to see that number bandied about.
So, let us do some basic maths.
How many hours does it take to build a car? This is roughly comparable: we\’re not using the hours required to build the car plant but nor are we using the hours required to clear the land. We\’re not using the hours required to make the steel but nor are we using the labour hours required to make the fertilisers.
Hmm, looks like it\’s about 30 hours of labour to make a car. US numbers BTW.
And what do car workers get? Around $40 an hour isn\’t it? Got to include their benefits as well as their wages.
So that\’s $1,200 in labour costs to build a car.
What does such a car cost? Pieces of string and all but $30,000 say?
Umm, labour costs are some 4% of the cost of a car.
It isn\’t immediately apparent, despite this being very much a back of the envelope calculation, that the labour costs of the pineapples are out of line really. After all, those car manufacturing jobs are regarded as the very epitome of well paid blue collar labour, aren\’t they?
And I\’m absolutely certain that if we took a few more examples we could find that 4% is actually quite a high labour portion of the final retail price.