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Uganda: NGOs accuse LafargeHolcim of neglecting former child labourers in its supply chain; includes company's comments

Bread for all & the Catholic Lenten Fund have accused LafargeHolcim of failing to resolve alleged child labour issues in its subsidiaries in Uganda. The company and its subsidiary, Hima Cement, have denied resorting to the use of child labour in their supply chain in Uganda 

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Article
15 May 2018

LafargeHolcim accused of abandon victims of child labour in its supply chain

Author: Bread for All

"Child labour: LafargeHolcim abandons the victims"

Two years after the child labour scandal in Uganda was discovered, LafargeHolcim and its suppliers have done nothing to help the victims. Bread for all and the Catholic Lenten Fund call on the cement group at today's general meeting in Dübendorf to finally assume its responsibility. The case also shows that Switzerland must regulate the human rights due diligence of companies by law.

A year ago, a study of Bread for All and its partner organisation TLC revealed the extent of grievances in the LafargeHolcim supply chain in Uganda that was previously uncovered by «Le Monde»: for more than ten years, Hima Cement, a subsidiary of the cement group, had benefited from the work of around 150 children and young people. They were cheap labour in the mining of Pozzolan, an additive for cement production. Only when the scandal became public did LafargeHolcim react. Since January 2017, the Franco-Swiss company has been buying the raw material from mechanized quarries that employ adults only...

This is why Bread for all and the Catholic Lenten Fund take the opportunity of today’s General Assembly to remind LafargeHolcim to acknowledge its responsibility for child labour. Moreover, they will renew their demands to support former child labourers in making up for missing school years and provide vocational training for them. The LafargeHolcim case highlights the fact that the human rights due diligence of corporations must be regulated by law, as provided for in the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative.

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Article
15 May 2018

LafargeHolcim denies use of child labour in its Uganda supply chain

Author: Swissinfo.ch

"LafargeHolcim accused of abandoning child labour victims"

The world’s largest cement maker has been criticised by two Swiss non-governmental groups for failing to resolve alleged child labour issues in Uganda. The Franco-Swiss multinational rejects the accusations...

The subsidiary in question, Hima Cement Limited, and LafargeHolcim denied resorting to the use of child labour in their supply chain. But in January 2017, Hima Cement, which was acquired by Lafarge in 1999, announced that it would stop buying raw materials from artisanal miners and only source from mechanised quarries employing adults. The same month LafargeHolcim commissioned an investigation by an international independent auditor, which concluded that there was no material evidence that children had worked for Hima Cement or for any of its other suppliers...NGOs [recently] criticised the fact that LafargeHolcim’s report was never made public…The NGOs urged the cement maker to acknowledge its responsibility for child labour and renewed their demands for support for the former child labourers to help them make up for missing school years.

In reply, LafargeHolcim again denied to the Swiss News Agency that it had resorted to the use of child labour. It also recalled that it had helped people in the region by financing the construction of toilets for 150 homes in Uganda.

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