Thursday, July 9, 2009

Can migrants save the trade unions?

Olle Sahlström looks at trade unions in Catalonia, Spain and across the continent and writes in Eurozine:

“The trade union is at a crossroad. Immigrant workers must be included in the unions. Either one chooses to try classic methods of organization, or entirely new directions which risk a widening of the gap between the white, male worker aristocracy and the poor, exploited migrant worker.”

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"Yes, we finance bomb-making...and that's fine!"

Spain’s Santander bank is indirectly and directly involved in weapons production and exports, according to Miquel González from the organisation Justicia y Paz.

In a recent speech to fellow-shareholders of the bank he listed the investments that Santander has in military companies:

Santander bank owns 23% of MaxamCorp Holding through its hedge fund Vista Capital. This company owns Explosivos Alaveses (Expal) among others. Expal only manufactures bombs and explosives and had been producing cluster bombs until recently, a type of bomb now illegal in Spain. Also, Santander bank owns 14% of CESCE, an agency that insures exports, which includes arms exports.

As stated in the “Guía de Comercio”, in April 2008 Santander bank (along with others) gave a €554 million loan to finance two CASA-EADS contracts with the Brazilian Air Force. These contracts involved the sale of twelve C-295 airplanes and an upgrade of eight P-3 airplanes. This export finance operation has been one of the largest of the last few years.

Mr. Botín, a Santander Bank spokesman has replied stating:

“These companies are highly technological ones. We run all kind of checks when they come to us and I can tell you that they fulfil regulations and international agreements in terms of manufacturing, sale and exports and in terms of the Dublin Convention. And they fulfil the Santander bank criteria for approval as one of our clients”