Saturday, 15 December 2007

Unison trustees to raise Burma issue

From the Unison capital stewardship site:

Your pension fund can help the Burmese people

Do you contribute to your employer's pension fund? If you do then you will be able to take part in a global campaign to help the Burmese people achieve democracy.

Your pension fund may have shares in companies that trade with the military dictatorship. The Burmese trade unions want you to tell your fund trustees or reps to stop investing in companies that trade with Burma.

UNISON is supporting a call for trade union members across the world to get involved.

And this is how you can do it.

Write or send an email to your pension fund administrator - go to your employer's web site to find out who this is or ask your UNISON branch if they know.

You should ask your pension fund board of trustees or pension committee to request that they or your investment managers report to you on:

• what shares the fund holds in companies with ties to Burma

• their assessment of the financial, legal and political risks this may pose to your savings and the reputation of the fund

• their strategy for addressing such risks

Remember, your pension fund is your savings. You have a right to know how this money is invested, and a right to ask if investing in companies that make money from a military dictatorship is putting your savings at risk.

Since 2000, the international trade union movement has called on all companies with business links in Burma to sever those links and withdraw from the country.

In October 2007, the International Trade Union Confederation asked its affiliated organisations to engage in a shareholders' campaign which may include disinvestment from companies linked with Burma.

This position supports that of Burma's democratically-elected ruler, Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the Federation of Trade Unions-Burma, which operates clandestinely inside and outside the country.

Foreign companies play a pivotal role in maintaining a steady flow of capital to the military dictatorship, and by extension, in upholding the country's brutal regime.

Military rule and repression has led to massive and systematic violations of human and workers' rights. In particular, the military regime oppresses and exploits its population through the widespread use of forced and compulsory labour.

For more information on UNISON's capital stewardship programme, go to or email Colin Meech on

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