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Kenya: Unilever accused of failing to respect workers’ rights as alleged failure to compensate victims of violence on Kericho plantation branded part of historic pattern

“Is Unilever still failing to respect its workers rights?”, 11 September 2020

In 2007, violence broke out across Kenya after the disputed re-election of President Mwai Kibaki. Attackers assaulted hundreds of Unilever workers and their families on a tea plantation in Kericho…

Unilever is accused of “relentlessly hid[ing] behind its corporate structure” to avoid legal redress. The group of 218 workers is calling on the UN working group on business and human rights to demand that Unilever make remediations.

It’s not the only time that Unilever has spent years refusing to remediate those affected by its failings.

It wasn’t until 2016 that the company compensated workers who were said to have been poisoned [by] mercury waste [in India]…

... 45 employees and 18 children had died due to the toxic effects, a claim denied by the company…

In 2015, workers said that they had been promised compensation but that the company had failed to follow through … Unilever denied that contaminated glass waste had been dumped behind the factory and that there had been any “adverse impacts on the health of employees or the environment”.

… [There are] reports from workers of ongoing violations have continued both from its own employees and in its supply chain.

In 2019 … security forces hired by Unilever had attacked striking workers with rubber bullets, pepper spray and paint balls … in Durban, South Africa…

… In 2016, the company was found to be buying palm oil from Olam and Wilmar, companies linked with both deforestation and human and workers rights abuses…

Amnesty International found serious human rights abuses on the plantations of Wilmar and its suppliers…

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