‘Scrooge’ firms deny anti-union stanceMarch 2011
Three of the world’s largest food multinationals have vehemently denied accusations of violations of workers’ rights of association.
Chiquita, Dole Foods and Del Monte were three of five companies analysed in an International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) report, Working for Scrooge. The others were the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association and R.J. Reynolds, a US tobacco company.
The report accuses Chiquita and Dole of being implicated in the killing of trade unionists in South America and other intimidatory campaigns. Del Monte is deemed to have made no progress on workers association since it was highlighted as the worst offender in the ILRF’s last report in 2008. It is also accused of conducting anti-union campaigns, and of using non-union labour to undermine collective agreements.
All five companies are accused of systematically suppressing workers’ rights to organize, and of using the global recession ‘as a pretext for cracking down on unionized workers and instituting employment schemes that reduce the number of workers’ guaranteed union protections’.
The accusations were brought to the companies’ attention by the Business and Human Rights website, which has received responses from all three.
Chiquita called the allegations ‘unfounded and not accurate’. Its corporate responsibility officer, Manuel Rodriguez, said: ‘Wherever we do business, Chiquita respects the freedom of association of employees and their right to bargain collectively with the company.’ Del Monte and Dole expressed similar views.
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