Members of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and Unite the Union will take their concerns about attacks against Kenyan logistics workers to the attention of BAT (British American Tobacco) shareholders in London today.
They will distribute a personal message from Ruth Matahi, a worker at the Agility logistics multinational’s branch in Kenya, at the BAT AGM to be held at 11:30am, at Milton Court, Guild Hall School of Music and Drama, Silk St, London EC2Y 9BH. In the message Ruth Matahi asks shareholders to ask BAT to raise the treatment of Agility workers transporting its tobacco. (Full text below).
Agility’s Kenyan management is guilty of dangerous and violent tactics against workers and their choice of trade union (see http://goo.gl/A66uL1). A likely attack by armed police was only just averted last month by the ITF drawing it to governmental and international attention and putting witnesses and cameras in place.
ITF Africa regional secretary Joe Katende said: “What is happening at Agility in Kenya is a disgrace and it’s time the Kuwait-based parent company acted decisively. We’re aware that they have sent two people from their Dubai office to look into what’s happening and the word is that they were shocked by what they found. Agility has to act to cut out the rot and to ensure that the workers get the union protection that they want and need.”
He continued: “BAT is a significant customer of Agility in Kenya and we’d like to prevail on them to raise this matter with the company. We would like them to convey our concern to Agility, a company that needs to listen before it finds blood on its hands in Kenya.”
The ITF presence at this morning’s AGM will be alongside members of fellow global union the IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) and Unite the Union, who are launching this report for BAT shareholders on the condition of North Carolina tobacco farmworkers www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/FDT-report-JL11-22647.pdf
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