Unilever would allow its 3,000 employees in Russia to be conscripted for the war

British food and hygiene multinational Unilever has confirmed that it would allow its 3,000 employees in Russia to be recruited for the war in Ukraine, in compliance with Russian law

Unilever admits this position in its response, released this Sunday, to a letter from the non-governmental organization B4Ukraine, which campaigns for companies to leave Russian territory in order to stop financing the conflict.

In the letter, dated July 11, Reginaldo Ecclissato, director of business operations and supply chain, says that the company is “aware of the law that requires any company operating in Russia to allow the recruitment of employees in case to be called.”

“We always comply with all the laws of the countries in which we operate,” he says.

In his answer to questions from B4Ukraine, Ecclissato confirms that Unilever has chosen to remain in Russia “because leaving is not easy.”

“When evaluating the future of our business in Russia, we have looked at three main options,” he explains.

The first would be “trying to close the business, which currently employs around 3,000 people in four manufacturing plants and a head office.”

However, he considers that, if he did, it would be “appropriated by the Russian State” and judges that it would not be correct to “abandon” his staff.

The second option would be to “sell the business”, but so far he has been unable to find a way to prevent the Russian state from benefiting, he says.

Unilever permitiría que sus 3,000 empleados en Rusia fueran reclutados para la guerra

The third “is to allow the business to work with the strict limits (such as exports)” introduced in March, the manager says.

Ecclissato clarifies that “neither of these options is desirable” and reiterates that “Unilever strongly condemns the war in Ukraine as a senseless and brutal act of the Russian state.”

Valeriia Voshchevska, spokesperson for the Ukraine Solidarity Project, part of B4Ukraine, has described the multinational’s position as “astonishing”.

“When people see Unilever products in stores, such as Hellman’s, Magnum or Dove mayonnaise, they will know that the company is willing to have thousands of its workers recruited for the Russian war effort,” he said in a statement today. release.

“This is already terrible, but then you have to listen to Unilever saying that it stays in Russia to protect its workers. If this is protecting them, I wouldn’t want to see what it would be like to put them in danger. And what happens to the innocent Ukrainian civilians?” asks this activist.

In the letter, Unilever, which last year promised to “review” its operations in Russia, reveals that its sales have increased and that it has paid some 3.8 billion rubles (about 37.5 million euros) in taxes in 2022.

B4Ukraine points out for its part that its net profit increased by 91% last year, to about 9,200 million rubles (almost 91 million euros).