Letter to Colombian trade union

Mar 16, 2012

Vevey, Switzerland

On March 16 2012, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe sent a letter to Mr Javier Correa, Chairman, Sinaltrainal trade union, Colombia.

Mr. Correa,

We were extremely surprised to learn about the criminal complaint filed by Sinaltrainal and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) before the State Attorney of the Zug Canton in Switzerland, accusing the undersigned, four colleagues and Nestlé S.A. of murdering Luciano Romero by negligence (fahrlässige Tötung).

As we have made clear to you and your organisation on many occasions, Nestlé condemns all forms of violence under any circumstances, has never used violence, nor has it associated with criminals. We therefore reiterate that Nestlé has absolutely no responsibility whatsoever, directly or indirectly, neither by action nor omission, for the murder of Luciano Romero.
Members of Nestlé Colombia’s top executive management have met you on numerous occasions to discuss the security of our employees. As you are aware, Nestlé provided security measures to Sinaltrainal union leaders such as temporary relocation and increased security at their homes and at the union headquarters. These were not designed to replace the State’s obligation to protect them, but your reaction to our offers was often negative, arguing that the protection of union leaders was the responsibility of the Colombian Government.

The murder of Mr. Luciano Romero was investigated and prosecuted by the courts of Colombia. Those who were found guilty were given long sentences of imprisonment. Sinaltrainal has attempted to blame Nestlé for this homicide in other jurisdictions including a Federal Court in Florida. In all cases, neither Nestlé nor any of its executives were charged, indicted or convicted of any action or omission that could make any of them responsible for the murder.

We reject your double standards, on one hand denying during meetings with our executives and with me personally that your organization links Nestlé with violent acts against its employees and union leaders, while on the other hand initiating again a legal action against us based on terrible and false accusations, including the allegation that “our local subsidiaries made payments to paramilitary groups ".
We reject all accusations of Sinaltrainal against Nestlé and the five individuals included in the criminal complaint filed before the State Attorney of Zug and we reserve all our rights in any jurisdiction or court to seek protection of the name and reputation of the undersigned, the other four colleagues and Nestlé S.A., all falsely accused by you.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe signature
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
Nestlé Chairman


For more information please email Corporate Communications on mediarelations@nestle.com or call +41 21 924 2200.