Friday, 19 October 2007

TUC on companies doing business with Burma

Straight lift from the TUC site:

EU sanctions force seven UK companies to stop trading with Burma
Following the EU's decision earlier this week to extend sanctions so that companies in the metal, timber, minerals and gemstones industries can no longer trade with Burma, the TUC has today (Thursday) identified seven UK companies who must now sever all links with the military regime.

This week's EU decision means that three small timber companies based in Bristol, Oxford and Sheffield; three top jewellery retailers in London - Asprey, Harrods and Leviev - and one mining finance company will now have to cease dealing with Burma or face prosecution.

Before the EU's sanctions came into force on Monday, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the TUC's international equivalent, had placed 32 UK companies on a 'dirty list' of firms still trading with Burma.

Following the departure of the seven from the ITUC 'dirty list', 25 British firms, mostly travel companies, will still be able to trade with Burma. The rest are in shipping, corporate relocation, pharmaceuticals, textiles, engineering, seafood and insurance. The TUC will now be consulting unions about further action against these remaining companies.

The EU has left open the possibility of extending sanctions depending on the Burmese dictatorship's future actions. The TUC and the global trade union movement are pressing for all economic links to Burma to be cut.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Companies trading with Burma are - whatever excuses they use - helping the Burmese military dictatorship to oppress the people of Burma. Child labour and forced labour are endemic in the country, and any taxes paid, currency converted or deals done will feed the military's coffers and help sustain human rights abuses.

'The Burmese trade union movement, itself banned by the military, has asked the TUC to back its struggle for freedom by boycotting Burma and that's what we need to do.'

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