On January 27, 2021 David MacLennan, CEO of Cargill, was sent a letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association & the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The letter asked Mr. MacLennan, among other things, to provide information on allegations the Special Rapporteur had received from the IUF about abusive company actions in Turkey. Mr. MacLennan was given 60 days to reply before the letter would become public. Perhaps that wasn’t long enough for a global corporation to dig into the details and check that its response to the UN was right because the information supplied to the Special Rapporteur was wrong on a key fact and misleading on several others.
- The UN Rapporteur, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, wrote to Cargill as part of a UN Special Procedure to investigate allegations of abuses of human rights; the case, brought by the IUF, concerns the right of workers in Cargill Turkey to belong to and be represented by IUF affiliate, Tekgıda-İş as well as deficient areas of Turkish law & practice in relation to international standards and their application
- While in Cargill’s reply to the UN Special Rapporteur (publicly available here), it claims that 7 earlier dismissals in 2012, 2014 and 2015 involved employees “all of whom separated under unique circumstances and none of whom were discriminated against based upon their union status,” this is simply untrue; these 7 workers won their court cases in 2015 and 2018 when Turkey’s Supreme Court confirmed that they too were dismissed in retaliation for their union activity
Whether failing in its obligations to adequately check its facts or deliberately altering facts already on record in its formal reply to the UN’s representative, Cargill is hiding the fact that dismissals for union activity have been happening at Cargill Turkey since 2012.
IUF General Secretary Sue Longley says, “There is an easy way that Cargill can reverse course in Turkey and become compliant with the international standards it publicly claims to respect. Negotiate conditions that would allow workers whose rights Cargill Turkey violated and who want to return to work to get reinstated.”