Yunus and Telenor

Jon Fredrik Baksaas of Telenor in a grinning competition with Mohammed Yunus.

A minority of regular readers of this blog will be fed up with my …er…concern about Professor Yunus in past posts. ( Just search Yunus in the search box..!!) If you are one such reader, then I request you to close your browser or surf to the Disney site because the story below is as nasty as it gets:

A Danish documentary will tonight reveal “miserable working conditions and environmental violations at companies in Bangladesh that act as suppliers to GrameenPhone ….co-owned by Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor and firms founded by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.”

Tom Heinemann

The documentary was made by made by Danish journalist Tom Heinemann and is to be aired on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) tonight.

The documentary shows:

* Employees working with hazardous chemicals and heavy metals virtually without protection.
* that workers were as young as 13 years, a clear violation of child labour laws. The firms were caught allowing polluted wastewater to spill into nearby rice fields.
* the death of a worker killed when he fell into an unsecured pool of acid.

The report in this Norwegian publication says :

Telenor officials claim they were shaken by the documentary’s findings, and admit they failed to adequately monitor the operations of GrameenPhone’s suppliers

See a trailer of the film here.

Tom Heinemann is an established journalist with a formidable track-record. In 2005/6 he made a documentary about the harsh working conditions of Indian workers producing for the Scandinavian market. The film is called “A Killer Bargain.” Heinemann’s primary concern is to reveal the stark realities of globalisation¬† in the developing world.

You will find more about Telenor in the comments section of this post of mine on Professor Yunus.