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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 31, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta -------------Thu.iday, Auguil 3f, 1972 THI irtHBRIDGt HIKAID 8 Mnx Wilde, Big business being put under scrutiny f'ENEVA The impact which giant multinational corporations are having on I ha johs and lives of workers in countries is to he investigated at a special International La- bor Organization 'iat exported over worth uf tractors and trucks from Ar- gentina tu oilier Latin Ameri- can countries. Ily 1975, F o r cJ- WitSys of Brazil should ex- porling engines a year to Britain, Germany and tho U.S.; while its companion, Pliil- co Ford, aims at producing automobile r a d i o s for the North American and Euro- pean car market. Bosch, with employees in its Indian subsidiary, is purchasing com- ponents from it for its German activities. In the most advanced form of these "runaway industries" multinationals close clown pro- duction in the developed econ- omies in favor of importing products from cheap-labor areas of the world, like South east Asia. U.S. electronic manu- facturers have invested in tho economies of Tai wan, Korea, and Hong Kong. The govern- ment of Haiti claims that 150 new companies have started op- erations in ttve island during the last 18 months, most of them American, taking advantage, particularly in the semi-finish- ed goods sector, of extremely low wages. (The minimum wage for Haitian labor, it is re- ported has just been raised from 60 cents to a dollar a The completed products are then re-exported to the U.S. Organized labor has been rather slow to react, and it was not until last July that Mr. Otto Kersten, genera! secretary erf the International Conference of Free Trade Unions, slated in London that the international trade union movement planned to establish a standing commit- tee to launch a campaign against multinational compa- nies. Chilo has accused the biggest multinational corporation of all, the International Telephone and Telegraph which cm- ploys workers in 50 countries, of trying to over- throw the left-wing government of Salvador Allendc, and has asked the United Nations to in- vestigate all multinational cor- porations. In June, the I r.ier nations! Federation of Chemical and General Workers' Unions, based in Geneva, convened a meeting of 65 trade unionists represent- ing workers in the recently-es- tablished D u n I o p-Pirelli tire combine, which employs around people in some 220 plants in 20 countries. Thou- sands of these workers, it was claimed, were threatened by redundancy and short time working, because of a stream- lining of operations, and a per- manent world council to watch their interest established. The meeting considered the problems" of Dunlop-PireUi workers in countries under au- thoritarian regimes, which deny workers their basic and fundamental rights to organize unions and bargain with the company, in its operations in Spain, Portugal, Greece, South Africa and elsewhere. Should Dunlop-Pirelli not meet a re- quest to receive a delegation of the council, international indus- trial action was envisaged. A foretaste of the kind of ar- guments likely to develop at the ILO conference in October was provided in a short debate at the International Labor Con- ference int Genera in June. Edwin P, Neilan, employers' delegates from the Uni- ted States, said suggestions that multinational corporations caii nullify the policies of gov- ernments and regional organi- zations for international co-op- eration arc "not borne out by practical experience throughout the world." He added that, "to- day's multinational corpora- tion, with a very few excep- tions, exists as good citizen trying to participate as a part- ner in the social and economic development of the country or countries in which il operates." To which Bert Seidman. of the American Federation of La- bor Congress of Industrial Or- ganizations