Spain-headquartered Prosegur accused of human and labour rights violations in Latin America
UNI Global Union today filed a complaint with the Spanish government in Madrid against private security giant Prosegur.
The complaint alleged a series of persistent violations of the OECD Guidelines for Multinationals in Latin America.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises establish a framework of minimum standards for responsible business conduct. They include standards for corporations to meet in terms of labour, human rights and procedures. These Guidelines require governments that have signed the Guidelines to set up a National Contact Point (NCP) to promote and implement the Guidelines. Cases alleging breaches of the Guidelines are to be filed with the NCP in the country where the multinational is headquartered which in the case of Prosegur is Spain.
The complaint focuses on four countries: Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay. It cites numerous examples of discrimination against union members. The complaint outlines how union members were routinely discriminated against over pay and denied permanent employment contracts. The complaint shows evidence of sham collective agreements, harassment and retaliation against union leaders and the dismissal of workers for forming unions or engaging in lawful strikes.
Specifically the complaint alleges that:
- In Brazil, Prosegur harassed and fired union leaders, refused to comply with adverse employment decisions, violated strike laws regarding replacement workers and fired workers for exercising their legal right to strike.
- In Colombia, Prosegur undermined collective bargaining by repeatedly violating collective agreement provisions, introduced illegal financial inducements and penalties to undermine the union. The company also violated freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, harassed and intimidated union leaders and repeatedly delayed and disregarded court rulings upholding workers’ rights.
- In Peru, Prosegur signed a sham agreement to exclude the union and to undermine collective bargaining, repeatedly violated country laws by using temporary contracts as a tool to prevent union organising and industrial action. The company fired workers for exercising their legal right to form a union, discriminated against union members in awarding pay increases, violated strike laws regarding replacement workers and fired workers for exercising their legal right to strike.
- In Paraguay, Prosegur signed a collective agreement with a sham union, fired union activists when the union was registered, undermined collective bargaining by refusing to bargain in good faith. The company violated strike laws regarding replacement workers, refused access to company premises by labour inspectors to investigate law violations and fired strikers and coerced resignations from hundreds of other strikers.
UNI has also filed a copy of this complaint with the NCP in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, countries which have signed the Guidelines and are cited in the complaint. The Paraguayan government has not signed the OECD Guidelines and, therefore, does not have a NCP.
Prosegur is the largest private security firm in Spain and Latin America. The company has a reputation as a good corporate citizen in Europe, promoting CSR initiatives but falls a long way short in Latin America. Prosegur has no apparent systems or safeguards for ensuring that workers’ rights are respected throughout its global operations, including the right of workers to exercise freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. Yet, the company is a leading contender for security contracts for the World Cup 2014 and Rio 2016, both scheduled to be held in Brazil. Human rights and labour violations are increasingly becoming a significant concern to governments and private sponsors of high-profile athletic events.
UNI has repeatedly sought to resolve these matters with Prosegur. However, the company either claims lack of knowledge of the problems or excuses the actions by citing a decentralized labour relations policy at the global level.
UNI is endeavouring to reach agreement with Prosegur on mechanisms that would improve due diligence monitoring and response concerning human rights and labour rights on a global level.
UNI Global Union has called on the Spanish NCP at the OECD to investigate and resolve these violations through mediation. Should such efforts fail, UNI will request that the NCP issue a final statement concerning whether or not the OECD Guidelines have been respected.
For more information, please see attached documents below.
Editors: For more information please contact:
James Dyson, Mobile : +34 633422032, email@example.com
Richard Elliott, Director of Communications, UNI Global Union
Mobile: +41 79 794 9709, firstname.lastname@example.org