An international trade union asked Wal-Mart suppliers to raise concerns with the giant retailer about how it treats its US workforce. The company has been affected by several walkouts and protests by union-supported groups wanting to highlight the low pay, poor benefits, and retaliatory measures against workers who speak out.
A couple of high profile demonstrations are planned during Black Friday this week. The day is the busiest single shopping day in the United States. Organizers say that up to 1,000 actions are planned and a couple of walkouts have already commenced.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation or ITF has sent letters to shipping owners and ship captains who deliver Wal-Mart goods and asked them to support the cause of the protesting workers. The organization said that Wal-Mart workers who have taken industrial action know that their jobs are at risk. The least it can do is to use its relations with the shipping industry to support the employees in any way they can.
ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton said that the union is talking to captains and ship operators carrying Wal-Mart goods. He asked them to register their concerns with the retailer about its treatment of its workers and the impact that could have on trade. The ITF is an international union federation that represents around four and a half million transport workers across the globe.
In recent months, some of Wal-Mart’s outsourced warehouse supply chain in the United States has been hit by demonstrations and strikes. Wal-Mart has accused unions of causing trouble and organizing its workforce.
Wal-Mart said that only a small minority of its 1.3 million of its workforce in the United States have joined in the protests. It defended its wages and benefits and said that it provided good jobs to thousands of Americans.
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