UK - Lingerie firm Triumph International is pulling out of Myanmar following pressure from shareholders including pension funds, labour organisations and exiled Burmese groups.
The move is being seen as a victory for a pressure group formed to highlight the military regime that governs a country with one of the worst human rights records in the world.
The company said: “Triumph very much regrets having to take this step. Despite the proposed social plan, the production closedown in Myanmar is bound to cause great personal problems for the employees concerned – something that Triumph has been working hard to avoid right up to the last minute.”
But Morley Fund Management – one of the members of the pressure group Business Involvement in Burma – argued that the 1000 job losses at the factory could be justified.
Morley SRI analyst Fiona Cuthbert said: “It didn’t seem logical that Triumph stayed there when it was having such a big impact on its reputation. The site it was using was one that was particularly controversial because it had strong links to the military regime in the country.
“Looking at the wider context of the 40-50m people who live there, the small benefit to the 1000 people does not outweigh the massive negative of the horrendous human rights situation there.”
Last October, pension funds and financial institutions with a combined total of £400bn under management joined forces to urge investors to be aware of the risks involved in the country. Members include Co-operative Insurance Society; Ethos Investment Foundation; Friends Ivory & Sime; Henderson Global Investors; Jupiter Asset Management; Morley Fund Management; Dutch pension fund PGGM and the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme.
The working practices in Myanmar have been condemned by the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation.
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