Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Meet the Tory donors: Samworth Brothers


Introduction to the series

This is the first article in a new series called "Meet the Tory donors". Several years ago I wrote a lengthy article providing information on a whole host of Tory donors and how they were being lavished with Peerages, handed huge chunks of the NHS and our education system and even given the opportunity to write new employment legislation for the Tory party to enact! I didn't have anything like as many subscribers back then, and in all honesty the article was so long and dispiriting to read, I'm not surprised that it didn't get shared all that much.

The idea of this new series is to break down the relationship between the Tory party and their donors into more manageable pieces by dealing with them one at a time.

Number One: Samworth Brothers Ltd


Samworth Brothers Ltd is a Leicestershire and Cornwall based food manufacturer. Their most notable products include the Ginsters Pasty range, Walkers Melton Mowbray pork pies and Soreen malt loaf.

Director Mark Samworth has donated at least £585,000 to the Tory party since 2010, including direct donations to the Tory MPs Ken Clarke (£10,000) and Alan Duncan (£7,500).

Life president of the company David Samworth has donated £26,000 to the Tories including another £7,000 in direct donations to Tory MP Alan Duncan.

The company itself also made £32,000 worth of donations to the Tory party between 2002 and 2003.

School privatisation
 

David Samworth is one of an extraordinary number of Tory party donors to have got a nice juicy slice of the publicly funded education system for himself. Unusually he was handed his slice of the education system by Tony Blair's Labour government, long before the Tories put Labour's crackpot academisation scheme into overdrive (with the end goal of the forced privatisation of every state school in England by 2022).

The Samworth Enterprise Academy in Leicester has it's own onsite church(!), but in terms of teaching, it's a devastating failure for the kids who are unlucky enough to end up there. In June 2015 Ofsted classified the school as "inadequate in almost all areas". 

It must suit David Samworth perfectly that the Tory party that he and his family donate so much to are setting up such an unaccountable system, where parents and local councils have no mechanisms to hold the private owners of desperately failing schools like the Samworth Enterprise Academy to account. In the end the only people with the power to eject the owners of failing schools will be the Tory government, who in this case and many others are bankrolled by the very people they're supposed to be overseeing! 


Labour disputes


It's pretty obvious that the Samworths are ideological Tories from the fact that they've poured well over £600,000 into Tory party coffers over the last couple of decades, but their treatment of their labour force provides proof of the fact that they share the Tory ideological contempt towards ordinary working people too.

A serious labour dispute at Samworth Brothers arose when the company sent out-of-the-blue letters to their Midlands workforce of around 4,000 people informing them that the company is planning to begin unilaterally scrapping overtime payments for work on weekends and on bank holidays.

The owners of the company plan to phase out overtime completely by 2020, because as far as they're concerned, work on a Sunday or on a Bank Holiday is exactly the same as work during the normal working week.

This idea that working at unsociable hours and on public holidays is undeserving of more compensation than ordinary weekday work is a very Tory concept indeed.

Take the dispute with the junior doctors that Jeremy Hunt has manufactured in order to push the NHS deeper into crisis. One of the many objections to Hunt's new contract (beyond the primary one that the new contract represents a threat to public safety) is the way that the Tories are trying to redefine chunks of the evening and weekend as sociable hours in order to avoid paying doctors overtime. As far as Jeremy Hunt and the Tories are concerned, for doctors Saturday is a weekday and working at half past nine on a Saturday evening deserves no more pay than working on a weekday morning (which is awfully hypocritical given that Parliament never sits at a weekend and MPs "late sitting" expenses kick in at 7.30!).

Another example of the Tories attacking the weekend is their failed attempt in March 2016 to redefine the Sunday Trading laws in favour of larger shops.

It's absolutely clear that the people running this company are ideological Tories, and that an awful lot of people who buy their products are inadvertently funding the Tory party and their class war agenda.

Offshore ownership structure


The parent company of the Samworth Brothers group is called SFH Investments Unlimited and is registered in the tax haven of Jersey.

Products

  • Ginsters (pasties and pies)
  • Soreen (malt loaf)
  • Walkers and Son (producer of 80% of all Melton Mowbray pies)
  • Melton Foods (sandwich supplier)
  • Bradgate bakery (sandwiches and salads)
  • Blueberry Foods (cake and desert supplier to Tesco and M&S)
  • Brooksby Foods (ready meals)
  • Kettleby Foods (pies/ready meals)
  • Saladworks (ready meals)
  • Dickenson and Morris (Ye Olde Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray)
  • Sci-MX (protein supplements)
  • Tamar Foods (pastry supplier to M&S, Tesco, Co-op, Waitrose)
  • Walkers Deli (meat products)
  • Walkers Sausage Co
  • Kensey Foods (desserts including some in the Cadburys range under licence)

What we can do 
  
The obvious course of action is to boycott their products, but if you do decide to do this it's absolutely vital that you contact the company to explain why you won't be buying their products, because the worst way you can hit people like this is to hit them in their wallets.

If tens, or even hundreds of thousands of people begin boycotting Samworth Brothers products then the company might notice a dip in sales and profits, but if tens of thousands of people send the company emails to explain why they are boycotting the company, they'll actually know why their fall in profits is happening.

Here are some contact details:

Samworth Brothers (contact form)

Ginsters Pasties (email, Facebook, Twitter)
Soreen (contact form, Facebook, Twitter)

A properly written email is most likely to have an effect within the company, and posting links or either of these infographics (Ginsters + Soreen) on their Facebook pages are likely to create the biggest social media reaction.



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