Unions want Norway-Global to review Nestlé
NORWAY - Norwegian trade unions are urging the Ministry of Finance to examine whether the government pension fund's investments in Nestlé are "compatible" with the fund's ethical guidelines.
In a joint letter, the trade unions - Fellesforbundet; NNN; the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) - asked the government to assess an alleged "systemic pattern of human rights abuses" by Nestlé in relation to the fund's investment policy.
The unions claimed the company's insistence on excluding the negotiation of wages from collective bargaining in countries such as Indonesia and India is a "clear violation" of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) conventions and the pension fund's ethical guidelines.
According to the IUF, the state pension fund has $2.85bn (€1.95bn) invested in Nestlé, whcih is its second-largest investment, so the unions have also highlighted "other examples where Nestlé does not live up to the demands imposed on companies by the ethical guidelines."
In the letter, the four unions said the government should place pressure on Nestlé to "respect fundamental ILO Conventions and the ethical guidelines of the Pension Fund. If it is impossible to engage in a constructive dialogue, the Finance Ministry should consider withdrawing its investment in Nestlé."
Elsewhere, latest figures from Norges Bank, which is responsible for the investment management of the government Pension Fund - Global, revealed the value of the fund had increased to NOK 2.52trn at the end of August.
This is now the highest value of the pension fund following five consecutive months of gains, and it means it has now exceeded the expectations outlined in the revised Budget for the fund to reach NOK 2.49trn by the end of the year. (See earlier IPE article: Norway Global gains lead to record assets)
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