Saturday, 5 September 2015

Responsible investment in infrastructure

DCT Gdansk is a new deepwater port development in Poland. It is majority owned by Macquarie's Global Infrastructure Fund II, with several Australian superannuation funds amongst the investors, along with another infrastructure manager/adviser Whitehelm Capital.  

The Polish union Solidarnosc (yes, that one) has been seeking a collective agreement with the management of DCT Gdansk to resolve a bunch of issues, like keeping workers on temporary contracts for years, low pay etc. Unfortunately, management's response has been to get rid of union activists, most recently a leader called Maciek Konopka.

In response the ITF has launched an online campaign to call on DCT Gdansk for Maciek's reinstatement and to agree Solidarnosc's demand for a collective agreement (you can sign it here). This campaign is also directed at Macquarie as the majority owner. Macquarie is represented on the board of DCT Gdansk so must be aware of these issues and is well placed to help resolve them. 

This story was picked up last week by Infrastructure Investor, and hopefully as a result it will get noticed more widely. Where investors have concentrated ownership of infrastructure assets they cannot shrug their ESG responsibilities. Let's hope Macquarie sees sense and does the right thing.

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