The East Sussex branch of NASUWT, the largest union representing teachers and headteachers throughout the UK, will be honoured by the Union's senior staff tomorrow for their hard work in securing a deal that will deliver fairtrade into staffrooms, classrooms and supermarkets across the county in the months ahead.
The deal, which has seen the Union buy 1000 fair-trade cotton bags, is all down to the hard work of Jack Doherty, the Health and Safety Officer of the East Sussex Federation. The bags were designed by the branch and then processed by Bishopston Trading, who work directly with fairtrade cotton growers in South India, and are being distributed free of charge to NASUWT members in East Sussex.
Amanda Haehner, NASUWT's Junior Vice-President, will visit the Federation at Bexhill-on-Sea to honour Jack Doherty's initiative. She will then begin the distribution of the bags with visits to Robertsbridge School in Battle, St Peter and St Paul's Junior School in Bexhill, Bexhill High School and Ratton School in Eastbourne.
Jack Doherty said:
"The Federation began discussing the idea of fairtrade products six months ago and the bags are the results of that.
"I have been involved in fairtrade for 30 years and the principles behind it are enshrined in the ethos of trade unions and many religions' social views seeking fair play and justice for those with no voice. The world is littered with places where workers suffer hunger and exploitation and I was eager for our Federation to do our bit.
"We wanted to give people the chance to make a difference directly and we think the bag does just that. The bag is a symbol of a satisfied worker getting a fair wage for a job well done.
"The obvious FAIRTRADE logo on the bag will stimulate thinking and be part of the 64% of the population who want to connect their shopping ethically to the producer of the goods.
"We are hoping over associations follow suit and the fairtrade message can be taken around the country."
The East Sussex Federation is also playing a leading role in trying to secure fairtrade town status for Bexhill-on-Sea, Hastings and Eastbourne, and fairtrade county council status for East Sussex.