The ACTU today congratulated 18 companies operating in Australia for refusing to trade or have economic links with Burma as part of an international union campaign against human rights abuses in the country.<

“I particularly congratulate those far-sighted companies that have ceased trading with Burma. Their example should be followed by all other companies, particularly travel operators, that are continuing to give comfort to this dictatorship,” ACTU President Sharan Burrow said today.

Ms Burrow’s comments mark the 13th anniversary today of the beginning of the national strike in Burma on 8/8/88 in protest against the military junta’s cancellation of democratic elections in the country.

The ACTU wrote to more than 50 companies operating in Australia earlier this year to seek assurances that they have severed any commercial links with the Burmese junta. Seventeen have now declared they have no such ties. (See attached list) However, five of the companies, mainly in the tourism industry, have confirmed that they are continuing to deal with Burma.

“More than a million people in Burma are now subjected to forced labour on construction projects, many of them for tourist development,” Ms Burrow said.

“It’s not too late for travel companies and travellers themselves to take a stand against oppression by boycotting Burma.”

Ms Burrow said the principled stand of the majority of companies contrasted with the Federal Government’s appeasement of the military dictatorship in Rangoon.

“When Foreign Minister Alexander Downer met with his Burmese counterpart, Win Aung last month, he emphasised so-called positive developments in Burma. The Federal Government must take a much stronger stand to pressure Burma into establishing democratic norms and ending the persecution of its people.

List of companies:

  • ANL Container Line P/L
  • Coffey International Ltd
  • Foster’s Brewing Group Ltd
  • Ikea Australia
  • Intrepid Travel P/L
  • Klinger P/L
  • Lloyd’s Agency
  • Longreach Gold Oil Ltd
  • McConnell Dowell Corp Ltd
  • M G Kailis Group
  • Mitsubishi Motors Australia Ltd
  • Modra Electric Power
  • Multiplex Constructions P/L
  • New Tel Ltd
  • Pacrim Energy Ltd
  • Quantum Explosives P/L
  • Telstra Corp Ltd
  • Totalcare Industries Ltd