Trade union investors meeting in Berlin today served notice on US-based logistics provider XPO that it must reform its labour practices.
The message was sounded by ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) president Paddy Crumlin, speaking to a meeting of the Committee on Workers’ Capital (CWC) that included trustees of major pension funds whose assets are managed by Orbis Investment Management, XPO’s largest shareholder.
He told the Berlin meeting: “I’m proud to say that the CWC is playing a critical role on bringing workers’ rights issues to the forefront. We talk so much about shareholder value; we as the stewards of workers’ capital must stake our claim to what we value.
“Active trustees are the bedrock of effective corporate engagement. They’re the workers’ voice in the capital markets. We need trustees to convey to corporate boards, and to our pension funds’ investment advisors and managers the issues we feel are important and let them know we are watching how well they perform in meeting our funds’ needs and values.”
He continued: “The CWC exists to enable unions to collaborate globally and to mobilise workers’ capital in support of our brothers and sisters facing insecure casualised employment, and anti-union intimidation. I hope all CWC participants will do what they can to support the XPO campaign, and make sure our capital supports XPO workers wherever they are.”
Mr Crumlin concluded: “We call on the investment managers to go to XPO management, relay our concerns and demand the company shows a transition plan for converting independent contractors to full employee status. We also ask them to call for enhanced sustainability reporting.”
In July the ITF launched a taskforce to tackle XPO’s anti-union and anti-worker tactics. XPO spends hundreds of thousands of dollars on union busters to fight workers’ attempts to organise in the United States, has slashed worker benefits and misclassifies workers as independent contractors. In Europe, XPO cut jobs despite promises it wouldn’t do so, misclassifies workers, and has denied workers toilet or water breaks. Workers across the globe are standing up to these anti-worker actions.