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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Global Union Support for Musim Mas Workers

Posted to the IUF website 10-Apr-2006

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Unions representing workers involved in production of foods containing palm oil have agreed to step up their support for the union at Musim Mas in Indonesia by pressing employers for information on their sourcing of palm oil. Meeting in Geneva April 5-6, members of the IUF Executive Committee saw a new film showing how the union leaders were framed and imprisoned by Musim Mas as part of the company's drive to bust the union, KAHUTINDO. IUF president Paul Andela commented that "So far they have been just names on websites but now we have seen the faces and hear the voices of these brothers. They need more that just our solidarity, they need our practical assistance and support."

The EC endorsed the setting up of a Musim Mas workers defense fund to which unions, for the first time in an IUF campaign, will be able to donate via the IUF website.

Following on the initiative of the Unilever European Works Council, the Dutch Bondgenoten and the German Food and Allied Workers' Union NGG have now publicly called on Unilever to reexamine its relationship with Musim Mas and to make public its sources of palm oil. Similar initiatives are being prepared by unions in other major food processing companies.

The first ever IUF seminar on palm oil was held in Kuala Lumpur on March 29-31. Participating unions from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Sweden agreed to support the IUF Musim Mas campaign though distributing information and through conducting research on the palm oil chain and the buying practices of companies which use crude and refined palm oil.