The study examined how international codes of conduct address employment conditions and gender issues in the Chinese flower industry. A sample of 20 companies was purposively selected and 200 workers from these companies were interviewed. The adoption of international codes did not improve workers conditions and gender issues and codes were poorly enforced. There was evidence of discrimination based on workers’ status of employment and gender. A permanent worker mean daily wage was RMB14.1 higher than a casual worker. Although welfare benefits were provided to permanent workers, males and females beneficiaries differed significantly by 32.4 and 24.1%, respectively. This paper provided the basis for the need to gender audit, mainstream flower companies and adopts participatory auditing for flower companies’ compliance to the use of codes of conduct.
Key words: Codes of conduct, Chinese flower industry, mainstream, gender, permanent worker, casual worker, employment conditions.
Abbreviations: ILO, International Labor Organization; CIFT, China international flower trade; GM, gender mainstreaming; ICC, International Code of Conduct; ETI,Ethical Trading Initiative; GA, gender analysis; SQs, structured questionnaires; ISs,interview schedules; FLP, Flower Label Program; MPS, Milieu Programma Sierteelt; Max Havelaar; M&S, Marks and Spencer; EUREGAP, European Retailers for Good Agricultural practice; BRC, British Retail Consortium.
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