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No. 55/1997

30 September 1997

The following is from the International Federation of Chemical, Energy,
Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM):


A decision by US-based energy multinational Texaco to pull out of a
natural gas project in Burma (Myanmar) has been welcomed by the
20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and
General Workers' Unions (ICEM). 

The Burmese military regime is one of the world's most repressive
dictatorships. Largely due to international trade union pressure, Burma
is already subject to a range of EU and US trade sanctions over its
systematic use of forced labour and child labour
 . There is also mounting international concern over the Burmese regime's
involvement in the international narcotics trade. The state-run Myanmar
Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the Burmese joint venture partner of the
various energy multinationals operati
ng in the country, is reportedly the major channel for the laundering of
the military's earnings from illegal sales of heroin.  

Robert E. Wages, President of US oil, chemical and atomic workers'union
the OCAW and a member of the ICEM Executive, commented: "We believe the
Texaco decision to leave Burma sends another message to the oil
companies that corporate downsizing and exploi
ting US workers to raise capital for investments in totalitarian
countries, where slave labour and wholesale repression are routine, will
not go unchallenged."

"Texaco's example should be followed by other global energy companies
currently active in Burma," urged ICEM General Secretary Vic Thorpe.
"The oil multinationals must either use their great influence to end the
repression in Burma, or they must leave th
e country without further delay. Big Oil must use its clout or else pull