While an enthusiastic group of No Sweat activists demonstrated outside the Hudson’s Bay Company annual shareholders meeting in Toronto, a representative of CUPE’s pension plan was inside asking tough questions of management.
The protesters were drawing attention to the links between the Canadian retail giant and sweatshop abuses in the southern African country of Lesotho. They urged the Bay to continue to buy goods from Lesotho but commit to improving working conditions in the factories.
Inside, Sylvia Sioufi, representing the pension fund that covers CUPE employees and Working Enterprises, called on the retailer to do more to ensure compliance with fair labour practices.
“It is not good enough just to tell shareholders that everything is all right, especially amidst recent credible allegations that everything is not all right,” said Sioufi. “Shareholders demand more of their companies in 2002.”
A motion demanding disclosure of ethical compliance audits received support from 37 per cent of shareholders, leaving management scurrying for cover.
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