The French-based transnational hotel, tourism and leisure group Accor has informed the IUF that it will be withdrawing from Burma. Accor Chairman Jean Marc Espalioux made the announcement on October 30 at an international trade union meeting held under IUF auspices in Geneva.
Accor currently manages two hotels in Burma, the Novotel Mandalay and the Sofitel Plaza Yangon. According to Espalioux, the decision will be implemented once negotiations with Accor’s local partner are completed.
The IUF, in meetings with corporate management, has continually raised the issue of the Accor group’s presence in Burma. Since the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, the IUF has supported the call by Burma’s trade unions and the government in exile for a tourism boycott and the withdrawal of transnational investments. Most recently, on September 27, the IUF Union Day of Tourism, affiliates responded to an IUF appeal by sending messages to Accor and other hotel chains still active in Burma, urging them to withdraw.
“Accor’s decision follows similar moves by other hotel chains and transnational investors”, said IUF general secretary Ron Oswald. “We are pleased that the IUF was instrumental in finally convincing the group that they could only suffer in the long term from their refusal to leave Burma. The constructive relationship built over the years between the IUF and Accor corporate management was certainly a key element in this success.”