BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) —  The Associated Press is reporting that Argentina’s tax agency has raided a Monsanto Co. contractor and found what it calls slave-like conditions among workers in its cornfields.

The AFIP tax agency says Rural Power SA hired all its farmhands illegally, prevented them from leaving the fields and withheld their salaries. They had to de-tassel corn 14 hours a day and buy their food at inflated prices from the company store.

AFIP says it will hold the American agro-giant responsible for its contractor’s slave-like labor conditions.

Monsanto didn’t immediately respond to calls Monday to its headquarters in Buenos Aires and in St. Louis, which was closed for the Martin Luther King holiday.

Argentina’s congress last month gave farmhands an 8-hour day and other benefits long denied under a dictatorship-era law.


Monsanto Statement

Monsanto has not yet received any details about AFIP’s claims beyond the brief communication they issued yesterday afternoon.   Monsanto places the highest priority on the safety and welfare of our contractors and employees, and believe that our contractors in Argentina were complying with all applicable requirements.  When details of the AFIP charges are available to us, we will certainly investigate the matter promptly.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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