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Adding Vitality to Lies: Unilever Responds to the IUF on Lipton Pakistan

Posted to the IUF website 02-Mar-2009

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"There's a big idea driving all our product development. We call it 'vitality' - a word that sums up the difference we aim to make to people's lives

In response to the thousands of protest messages which have been sent to Unilever through the IUF website, Unilever has sent out a crudely improvised reply stating that "In line with industry practice in Pakistan, we have for some time employed third party service providers for certain operations at the Khanewal tea factory." Further, that "We understand that some employees have filed cases against the service providers asking for permanency of employment and are now seeking to involve Unilever Pakistan in this process. These cases are currently pending in various judicial forums." Finally, that "Our management in Pakistan is seeking to involve all stakeholders to discuss and resolve this issue."

These statements are, to put it mildly, deliberately misleading:

Unilever Pakistan, like global corporate Unilever, consistently portrays itself as an industry leader. Its dominant market share in key products means that it is a major shaper of the environment in which "industry practices" are determined. Unilever can, of course, reverse the trend towards 100% disposable jobs by entering into negotiations with the organizations representing its casual tea workers.