New Zealand Union Supports Pressure on Private Equity
The Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota has joined unions in 25 other countries in calling on private equity companies to adopt a global corporate social responsibility charter.
International union federations UNI and the IUF have targeted today 17 July to highlight the lack of accountability of private equity companies in the global economy including New Zealand.
They are specifically focussing on the US private equity company Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts (KKR), which through a series of acquisitions, has become the second largest employer in the United States and has become active in New Zealand through its ownership of AC Nielsen, Phillips, Sealy and its attempt to takeover Babcock and Brown that owns through Powerco 46% of New Zealand's gas distribution system.
SFWU National Secretary John Ryall said that private equity companies had become a major force in the world economy in the last few years as capital looked for new forms to increase their returns on investment.
"Internationally private equity companies such as KKR have been at the forefront of takeovers followed by aggressive restructuring, asset stripping and systematic exploitation of local loopholes to minimise payment of tax," said John Ryall
The SFWU spoke out last year about the takeover of the iconic New Zealand biscuit brand Griffins by private equity company PEP and the subsequent closure of the Griffins Lower Hutt factory with the loss of 250 jobs.
"On 17 July we are challenging KKR, PEP and other private equity companies to sign up to a set of attached global principles and become good corporate citizens."