So. Africa: Workers at Heineken's brewery allege sexual harassment by their supervisors; includes Heineken's comments and Imperial's response

Workers at Heineken's brewery marched in April alleging that their superiors sexually abuse them and demand 'sex for favourable shifts and other favours'. Heineken Worker Forum alleged that “Women experience extreme violence because of these unequal power relations,” the statement reads. “Supervisors expect women to give sex for being scheduled in good shifts, get a better job or even just keep the job.”According to the statement, supervisors and managers at the brewery also use their power to demand money from both men and women for jobs. Heineken commented and denied any of the allegations and went further to state that these 'allegations are not levelled directly at Heineken but at service provider Imperial, which operates at the brewery'. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre invited Imperial to respond; includes Imperial's response. 

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Company response
13 May 2019

Imperial's response

Author: Imperial Logistics (South Africa)

Thank you for your correspondence with regard to the article that recently appeared on the Mail & Guardian website...We take all such allegations very seriously and respond swiftly in order to determine the facts and respond accordingly. We have comprehensive processes and procedures in place to enable safe (and anonymous if necessary) reporting, thorough investigations and expeditious response to all allegations, incidents and concerns. The complainant was subsequently traced and was unable to provide any tangible evidence of sexual misconduct or harasment. Only vague inferences were made with no verifiable details provided or other victims or perpetrators identified. The investigation was concluded and no further complaints or allegations have been made or received. 

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Article
13 May 2019

So. Africa: Workers allege sexual harassment at Heineken's brewery, Heineken denies allegation

Author: Sarah Smit, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

Heineken Workers' Forum prepares to march against ‘sex for shifts’ 4 April 2019

Workers at Heineken are preparing to march against sexual abuse at the beer giant’s Sedibeng brewery. The Heineken Workers’ Forum announced this week that it will be marching against an alleged “sex for shifts” system playing out at the brewery. “Women experience extreme violence because of these unequal power relations,” the statement reads. “Supervisors expect women to give sex for being scheduled in good shifts, get a better job or even just keep the job.”

Millicent Maroga, Heineken’s corporate affairs director, has denied allegations that the company has turned a blind eye to sexual harassment claims. According to Maroga, the allegations are not levelled directly at Heineken but at service provider Imperial, which operates at the brewery. “Both Heineken and Imperial have (independently of each other) put in place reporting channels (toll-free tip-off lines) where employees are encouraged to anonymously (if they choose to) report wrongdoing, including abuse of this nature,” Maroga told the Mail & Guardian.

There have been no complaints received across the various platforms provided to Imperial workers, Maroga said. In 2017, the M&G reported on the struggle of workers, many of whom were working at the brewery under various labour brokers, like Imperial, to be made permanent by Heineken. 

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