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Home BUSINESSHuhtamaki denies accusation of violating labor interests abroad
Tue, 02 Jun, 2015 02:47:14 AM
FTimes-Xinhua Report, June 2


Finnish package manufacturing conglomerate Huhtamaki Monday denied charges by employee organizations that it has violated its workers' interests in some countries around the world, Finnish national broadcaster Yle reported.

     Huhtamaki executives met on Monday in Helsinki with employee representatives from nine countries. The employees singled out India, Mexico and the United States as countries where organized labor had problems with Huhtamaki.

     The meeting in Helsinki was organized by IndustriALL Global, an international body representing industrial unions, and hosted by the Finnish Paperworkers Union. The hosting Finnish union said such a widely international request to talk with a single Finnish company was unprecedented.

     Huhtamaki's information director Katariina Hietarinta told Yle on Monday that the corporation applied both the local laws of the countries it operates in and the ethical guidelines of its own. The employee representatives described the meeting as disappointing.

     Workers at a plant in Taloja, near Mumbai in Maharashtra state, India accused Huhtamaki of harassment and pressure. In the United States, the United Steel Workers union criticized Huhtamaki of attempts at preventing workers from unionizing at a plant in Commerce, California.

     Yle said participants included employee representatives from Finland, the United States, Britain, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Russia,Turkey and Australia. According to the broadcaster, no one was from India.

     Huhtamaki has 13,800 employees worldwide. Its net sales in 2014 were 2.2 billion euros .

     Finnwatch, a Finnish non-governmental organisation focused on global corporate responsibility, told Yle that Huhtamaki has probably trusted local managers to handle the situation, "which are usual practices in the countries concerned".

     Finnwatch managing Director Sonja Vartiala said that Huhtamaki should have ascertained that the principles of corporate responsibility are applied in all countries, even in those "where local legislation is problematic". 

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