As part of long-standing campaign tackling serious labour issues at Crown Packaging plants in various countries, Unite and the United Steelworkers (USW) unions organized protest actions against the Carnival cruise company in Southampton and London this week.
The protests on 15 April targeted Arnold Donald, Carnival’s CEO, in his capacity as member of the board of directors at Crown Holdings.
Action took place at Carnival’s corporation headquarters in Southampton, and in London where the company was holding its annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders.
In 2013, workers at the Crown package manufacturing facility in Toronto - who are members of IndustriALL Global Union through the USW - were forced into striking over working conditions and benefits.
With their life vests on, striking Canadian Crown workers from USW and members of Unite from the UK held a huge banner outside the Southampton offices asking: ‘Why is Arnold Donald throwing workers overboard?’
Protesters also distributed leaflets with information about the strike to around 200 shareholders en route to the Carnival AGM in London.
Donald, who contended he could play no role in changing the Crown’s position in the Toronto strike, faced a number of tough questions at the AGM.
Addressing Donald at the Carnival AGM, IndustriALL’s assitant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, pointed out that Crown’s demands for dramatic wage and benefit cuts, alongside its efforts to destroy the union, undermined Carnival’s own business plan:
“Carnival is dependent on good wages, pensions and paid vacations that union agreements provided,” said Özkan, who also cited examples of Crown engaging in union busting in Turkey, Colombia, Morocco and Ghana.