25 May, 2009

EDC owners accused of "oppressing" Chinese workers

Despite the reputation of Scandinavian countries as progressive, just and socially advanced, our capitalists are just like any others, it seems... especially when operating in "third world" countries like Egypt or China. I was just sent this link to an article about A.P. Moller-Maersk, the Danish company that owns 45% of the Egyptian Drilling Company (EDC), which was recently accused of laying off employees on fixed contracts while hiring new workers on temporary contracts. The report in Danish daily Politiken recounts accusations concerning a container factory in Dongguan in southern China, owned by Maersk, where workers are said to suffer from health hazards, corruption within the management, and humiliating work rules - including a ban on strikes (with no basis in Chinese law according to an expert interviewed in the article) imposed in June 2008 after a series of strikes and protests for better work conditions. A number of reports and statements in Danish and English are available at the Hong Kong-based Globalization Monitor.

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