Campaign to lobby pension funds on workers rights

GLOBAL - War on Want, the anti poverty charity, is launching a campaign on Monday urging pension contributors and trustees to lobby companies they invest in to respect workers’ rights.

Only 40% of pension fund trustees vote at shareholder meetings of large companies and the Invest in Freedom campaign aims to get the remaining 60% to exercise their rights.

The charity says that many of the companies abusing workers’ rights are multinationals that enjoy investment from UK pension funds and that subsequently the remaining 60% have significant power to ensure their money is promoting sound working practices.

Research that forms the basis of the Invest in Freedom campaign, reveals some harrowing statistics. Around the world quarter of a billion children under the age of fourteen work, while a further 200 million work under forced labour conditions.

As of July 2000, UK trustees have been obliged to publish a statement of investment principles stating the extent to which social issues influence their investment decisions. War on Want says this legislation offers an opportunity for pension holders to exert pressure on the companies in which their money is invested.

“The power of our pensions had been ignored too long,” says Nick Deardon, campaign officer at War on Want.

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