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Jul
2013
10

Pair of Dutch Pension Managers Yank Funds from Walmart Because of Questionable Labor Practices

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Dutch pension managers PGGM and Mn Services have pulled their investments in Walmart due to the McRetailer’s anti-union positions and questionable labor practices.  The pension funds join Netherlands’ largest pension fund, ABP, which divested from Walmart last year citing their inability to follow the United Nations’ Global Compact concerning labor rights.  Via AOL Jobs:

We were very concerned that there wasn’t sufficient oversight from the board,” says Saskia van den Dool, a senior adviser for responsible investment at PGGM, which held 2.76 million shares of Walmart as of March 31, according to Reuters. “It left Walmart operating on the edges of the law.”

These companies have asked Walmart to abide by the rules of the International Labour Organization (ILO).  But Walmart insists that the ILO’s guidelines apply to countries, not companies. Walmart is facing mounting pressure from the union-backed OUR Walmart campaign which has damaged the company’s reputation internationally.  As their workers fight for better conditions, Walmart is openly opting for suppression:

This May, Walmart posted a job listing online for a director of Labor Relations, tasked with “assess[ing] vulnerability to union messaging in market,” and “support[ing] continued union-free workplace …”

According to Van den Dool, PGGM recently tried to open dialogue regarding their standards:

“They basically said this is not something we are going to consider,” Van den Dool said. “This was basically the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”

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