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Finnish retail warehouse workers’ handling boycott of disreputable juices aims at enhanced social responsibility
Published: 10-Feb-2014 10:23 am
Publisher: Palvelualojen ammattiliitto PAM ry
The retail warehouse workers declare a three-day handling boycott of the pineapple juices produced in questionable conditions.The background of the decision is the Finnwatch follow-up report Ojasta allikkoon (“Out of the frying pan into the fire") published in January, according to which the production chains of Pirkka, Rainbow and Eldorado juices are suspected of containing features of human trafficking and forced labour.
The union branches representing the warehouse workers of the Finnish companies SOK, Tuko Logistics and Kesko declare a three-day boycott of the disreputable pineapple juices and will not handle them between 12 and 14 February. During these days, the juices will not be transported from the warehouses to the retail stores. The purpose of the pressure action is to improve the conditions of the juice factory workers and to enhance social responsibility throughout the delivery chain.
- The follow-up report shows that much needs to be done to have a genuinely responsible procurement chain. It is not enough to pay lip service and say how sorry we are, Chairman Petri Järvinen of the Kesko union branch says.
The union branches find that the commercial sector enterprises are making progress towards more responsible operations and, indeed, the goods handling boycott is not aimed against the companies that purchase goods, nor are they attacked as employers. The action is not meant to cause any harm to the employers’ business. However, the union branches feel frustrated because of the poor conditions of the fellow workers in the factories.
- Moreover, the aim of the boycott is to make the supplier VIP-Juicemaker and its Dutch parent company understand that responsible operations are, in the end, also in their best interest, shop steward Heikki Laakkonen of the Kilo warehouse of Inex Partners (SOK) points out.
The union branches hope that the message is also increasingly shared within the international union movement. Hopefully, the pressure measures encourage the Finnish companies to call for more binding social responsibility principles, extending the responsibility audit included in the respective programme to the entire delivery chain. Involved in corporate social responsibility work, the administration of BSCI includes Finnish representatives from SOK and Tuko, and the cooperation and contacts will certainly help to also make amendments in the audit system.
- If we employees are able to engage in cross-border cooperation, I do not think it is impossible for employers either, Vice chairman Joonas Tuomivaara of the Kesko union branch, the architect of the action, adds.
Joonas Tuomivaara, Chairman of the PAM Representative Assembly, tel. +358 50 568 0326