Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Vodafone shareholders get the message on anti union activities in South Africa

A UNI delegation made a protest outside the Vodafone AGM and several delegates who were shareholders or had proxy votes from Vodafone shareholders, made the Vodafone shareholders at the Annual General Shareholders meeting aware of the anti union activities that Vodacom (Vodafone's South African subsidiary) have been undertaking to stop the CWU South Africa from gaining union recognition.

During question time at the Vodafone AGM, UNI Head of Telecom Neil Anderson, demanded that Vodafone respect the core ILO conventions and Human Rights standards and stop their union bashing of the CWU. He also pointed out that Vodafone's CSR report is deficient on human rights and labour standards and the company needed to address this issue.

The delegation got considerable support from shareholders present. Two colleagues from CWU South Africa also were at the meeting, Aubry Thsabalala and Thabo Mogalane and along with Connect from the UK and the CWU Ireland made a protest to the meeting. They told the meeting that Vodacom had sought arrest warrants and were trying to intimidate the strikers. Further that their claims for union recognition were so that they could address the discrimination and unfair promotion processes that were in place. Also there were diverse and unfair pay rates issues that needed to be resolved.

The result was that the Chairman of the Board, John Bond accepted there was an issue to answer and a small meeting was held with Paul Donovan, International Group Manager, where this issues were discussed and the company agreed to look into UNI and the CWU's allegations of anti union activity and to support an independent mediation that has been proposed in South Africa.

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