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Anti-union aggression continues at Kraft Tunisia
Management at the Saida biscuit factory in Tunisia continues its anti-union aggression as their response to a deadlock in collective bargaining negotiations. The general secretary of the local union of the IUF-affiliated FGAT, Zed Naloufi, was dismissed earlier this summer for having called a meeting of his members. Now deputy general secretary, Karim Amdoumi, has been suspended.
The factory is part of the Société Tunisienne de Biscuits (SOTUBI), 49% owned by US-based transnational Kraft Foods. The Saida factory, which also produces Kraft branded products like TUC biscuits, employs 1,600 workers, 80% of whom are women.
Amdoumi was suspended following an altercation provoked by the warehouse manager on August 13. He remains on suspension despite the fact that the warehouse manager has since withdrawn his complaint! Management has indicated to the union they would reinstate him if the entire union board resigns from their elected positions.
Company management clearly prefers repression to negotiation, so the conflict continues. It is the same aggressive response to workers seeking to exercise their rights shown by Kraft in the anti-union dismissals at the Cadbury factory in Alexandria, Egypt.
Kraft's only response to the conflict at Saida has been to inform the Business and Human Rights Resource Center, which publicized the IUF's campaign for the workers and their union, that "Hiring and dismissal of employees are routine management decisions that are made solely by our JV partner." This ludicrous statement ignores the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, which clearly establish corporate responsibility for human rights abuses in joint ventures, suppliers, franchises and other forms of business relationships and require companies to take corrective action.
On October 1, Kraft Foods will split into two corporate entities: a North American grocery company, and a "global snacks powerhouse" called Mondelez. The Tunisian operations will be part of Mondelez. Will the new company show the same aggressive contempt for international human rights standards as Kraft? Kraft workers around the world need to know.
Act now! - send a message to Kraft/Mondelez calling for the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed union representatives and a return to good faith negotiations!