DuPont Loses Favorable Tax Status in Argentina

Feb. 2, 2011
Company charged with keeping workers in harsh conditions with low pay

Following allegations that an Argentine subsidiary of DuPont kept its farm workers in harsh conditions for almost no pay, Argentina revoked the favorable tax status of the local operations of DuPont.

The charges concern some 140 rural workers allegedly forced by the company's Pioneer subsidiary to work for next to nothing in the central Argentina pampa.

DuPont "cannot enjoy the (tax relief) benefits if it is linked to a firm that exploits its workers and forces them to work in an inhuman way," Ricardo Echegaray, an official with the federal AFIP tax authority said on Feb. 1.

DuPont, Echegaray said "has ceased to be a reliable operator," he said.

The taxation official made his remarks after allegations surfaced that Pioneer, a cereal manufacturer, forced workers to till and harvest soy and corn crops for meager pay at one of three work camps in Cordoba.

Pioneer is DuPont business headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and is considered a leading global developer of agricultural seeds.

Government agents who documented the case said they found shocking evidence of abuse, including workers who were housed in rickety shacks without electricity or properly functioning toilets.

The laborers were paid a meager salary of some 97 pesos (US$25) part of which was withheld as collateral against the possibility of damage to the crops during the harvesting.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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