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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 09/15/2012 - 16:53

SABMiller in Latin America:The greater the profit, the harsher the union repression

In the second quarter of 2012, the beverage transnational giant SABMiller boosted its global profits by 8 percent, to a great extent as a result of its sales in Latin America, a region where it cracks down on any attempt at independent unionization among its workers.

Latin America was one of the regions that saw the greatest sales growth in the April-June quarter, according to figures released by the company in late July.

Compared to the same period of 2011, beer sales in the countries of the region were up 6 percent, while they fell in the United States and grew only slightly in Europe.

Africa is the other largest growing market for this brewery, which originated in South Africa, is currently based in London and ranks second in the world.

More than 70 percent of the company’s earnings came from sales in so-called “emerging countries,” including Colombia and Peru in Latin America and Tanzania and Zambia in Africa.

In the second quarter of 2012, the beverage transnational giant SABMiller boosted its global profits by 8 percent, to a great extent as a result of its sales in Latin America, a region where it cracks down on any attempt at independent unionization among its workers.

Latin America was one of the regions that saw the greatest sales growth in the April-June quarter, according to figures released by the company in late July.

Compared to the same period of 2011, beer sales in the countries of the region were up 6 percent, while they fell in the United States and grew only slightly in Europe.

Africa is the other largest growing market for this brewery, which originated in South Africa, is currently based in London and ranks second in the world.

More than 70 percent of the company’s earnings came from sales in so-called “emerging countries,” including Colombia and Peru in Latin America and Tanzania and Zambia in Africa.

In the year that goes from the first quarter of 2011 to the same period of 2012, SABMiller’s revenue grew by 11 percent, standing at 31.4 billion US dollars, and its operating profit was up 12 percent at 5.6 billion US dollars.

The transnational corporation applies the same antiunion practices equally across the region, from Colombia to Honduras and from Peru to Panama and Ecuador. Colombia is an emblematic case in this sense.

Management expects similar results for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, again fueled by performance in the “emerging markets” of Latin America and Africa.

The transnational corporation applies the same antiunion practices equally across the region, from Colombia to Honduras and from Peru to Panama and Ecuador. One of the emblematic cases in this sense is Colombia.

There, in 2005, as a condition for purchasing Bavaria - the company with the greatest share of Colombia’s domestic market - SABMiller demanded the dissolution of the preexisting trade union, and only concluded the transaction after this demand had been met.

It then proceeded to ignore the collective bargaining agreement in place in Bavaria, reduce the workforce through dismissals and by outsourcing services, and cut the wages of the workers it kept on the payroll.

Simultaneously, as the company’s profits grew (300 percent in just one year), SABMiller-Bavaria blocked at least six attempts by its workers to organize in independent trade unions and promoted the creation of yellow (pro-management) unions.

The workers of the brewing giant were finally able to unionize in February of this year, under SINALTRAINBEC, a union that groups food and beverage industry workers.

The union is still small, but it is the first to succeed in standing up to company, which insists on ignoring its authority and constantly pressures workers not to join the union.

Last May in Panama, officers of the SABMiller-owned Cervecería Nacional went as far as holding members of the Industrial Union of Soft Drink, Beverage, Soda, Beer, Liquor and Similar Beverage Production and Distribution Workers against their will when they refused to sign a veiled dismissal.

As Fabio Arias, financial officer of Colombia’s United Workers Federation (CUT), told Sirel some weeks ago, “There is a deep-rooted antiunion culture within this transnational corporation.”

http://www.rel-uita.org/contratapa/companias/sabmiller/a_mayor_ganancia_...

From Montevideo, Daniel Gatti
Rel-UITA