Behind some well-known international brands there are a series of stories, which in certain cases, are mixed with the myths and truths of its trajectory. Millions of children in Third World countries are said to be exploited by large and prestigious global clothing and footwear companies, as well as medicines and food. Also the story is known that several Asian workers died as a result of a voracious fire in an industrial plant, since they could not escape the fire by being locked up while they worked. Behind the big brands there is always a great story, although sometimes, that story is immoral.
It is said that the world-famous shoe and sportswear factory Nike, would have suffered several denunciations by massive dismissals and lack of conditions worthy of work. This company, which promotes the sportsmanship, seems to place the production of his clothes as part of an endless marathon, in which its main participants are its employees. According to reports, in some places where the production of sportswear is carried out, their workers could not attend the sanitary facilities without previous authorization of the hierarchical personnel and would only be allowed to miss two days during the period of their female days, without remuneration.
The Californian company dedicated to the production of jeans known as Levi’s Strauss would have its main textile plant in Burma, a country under a military regime and where human rights would be highly questioned. The same would happen with the well-known Swiss lingerie factory, Triumph, who would also own one of its factories in this dictatorial country due to its cheap and educated labor, and the possibility of offering a potentially large stock market. In the 1990s, Levi’s would withdraw from this country as it would have considered that it would not be possible to do business in Burma without directly supporting the military government and its continuing violations of human rights.
Disney & McDonalds
Disney and McDonalds are also not off the list of big brands with unhappy stories. It is said that a Christian group in Hong Kong issued a detailed report on the sordid conditions of work in Chinese factories in which all the merchandising of these renowned companies was produced. Both Disney and the famous fast food company would have immediately suspended their merchandise orders and, although they would have switched suppliers, none of these companies took over the mass layoffs that subsequently took place in those factories, nor did they contribute to improving the Labor conditions.
The company Chicco, dedicated to the production of articles for newborns, in the early nineties was involved in a scandal. The factory of Chinese nationality that manufactured the products for Chicco suffered a terrible fire where they died almost half of its employees. Such deaths could have been avoided if there had been emergency exits and if the factory windows had not been latticed. Following international pressures, Chicco would have adopted a working protocol in which it is only obliged to hire those supplying factories that comply with the labor and health laws.
The multinational Chiquita, a banana producer, has repeatedly been accused of paying unworthy wages on Central American plantations in Honduras and Costa Rica. She would also have been accused of using highly dangerous pesticides which, in addition to causing infertility, would also have resulted in the death of several workers. In the mid-1980s, Chiquita would have been sued for the death of a hundred workers at a Costa Rican plantation for the use of dibromochloropropane as a pesticide. It is also said that the banana company refused to pay compensation to the families affected.
One of the most well-known symbols in the world. The fast food chain is found in more than 100 countries and is one of the largest purchasers of beef on the planet. This company would be accused of having favored the indiscriminate deforestation of virgin forests in Latin America, in order to generate enough space for pasture plantations that feed livestock. She was also accused of genetically manipulating soybeans that served as food for the birds on her farms, produced by the McNuggets and McChicken.
This multinational company of Swiss origin is in charge of the largest food production in the world. The cocoa is one of the raw materials that Nestlé uses in great quantity of its products and the main supplier of this grain is the Republic of Mali, in West Africa. The controversial point is that Nestle would not pay a fair price for cocoa, but would do so well below market values. This does not help to reverse the terrible working conditions of the Malian families, who have to resort to the work of their children to increase their meager income and with that it would be contributing to the so repudiated child exploitation.
The world-wide company dedicated to the pharmaceutical industry would have been involved in diverse facts not very ethical. According to reports, he treated a large number of patients with a placebo for years, exposing them to being attacked or physically worsened. Following the complaints made, the company explained that the pseudo treatments had been duly authorized by independent study committees. Another controversial situation involving the pharmaceutical company was the case that the African government, led by President Mandela, was sued by Bayer for violating the patent law, when the president authorized the treatment of AIDS with drugs more accessible to patients.
Burma remains a haven for those companies that require a dictatorial regime to carry out their business. Among the multinational companies that are based there, the one that would have thousands of barrels of oil is EFL, a company of the French group Total. The fact that Total had been considered by the Burmese candidate for the Nobel peace prize Aung Suu Kyi as a pillar of the military government of that country did not contribute to giving up its presence in this territory, let alone leaving its very important businesses. Among other serious allegations, they would be accused of financing warlike actions in countries in conflict.
This famous German company would be associated with the participation in the production of components for the manufacture of armaments, among which would be mines and missiles. Also, the factory of beautiful automobiles would have been denounced by a German newspaper for its supposed participation in the dissolution of a ten of clandestine unions that would have formed in the last dictatorship of a South American country, where Benz has one of its automotive plants. A member of the German factory would have denounced the members of these unions, and it is said that later, some of them would have suffered illegal coercion.