The finalists for the annual Roger Award for the Worst multinational operating in New Zealand in 2007 were recently announced.

Telecom have, once again, been nominated. Indeed Telecom has been a finalist every year since the Roger Award stared a decade a year - however they have only been winners once.

This year Telecom is a strong contender for first place with its impressive display of incompetence when it transferred its Xtra-mail customers to Yahoo. The victims of Telecom's incompetence found they couldn't access they're e-mail accounts and, in some cases, they're e-mail accounts vanished into cyberspace, never to be seen again.

Another frequent nominee is British American Tobacco - but they have yet to win the gold medal. This year BAT is bidding for first place with a two-pronged approach. First up, the judges have taken notice of how BAT are coming up with new and creative ways to sell its products to New Zealanders - which kill 5,000 of us a year. Secondly, BAT'S underhand role in the collapse and takeover of Feltex Carpets was also noteworthy. Indeed it has already picked one award for this - the Shareholders' Association's annual Golden Glob Award. Well done BAT!

Spotless, the Australian cleaning contractors, got a nomination for locking out hundreds of low paid hospital workers for nine days.

Also nominated is Pike River Coal. It has opened a major new coal mine near Greymouth at the same time when the country and the world are having to grapple with the impact of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels. An outstanding example of shortsightedness and greed!

Independent Liquor and APN news have been nominated for anti-worker activities.

Workers at Independent Liquor typically receive $200 to $300 less per week than workers at other liquor and brewery companies and the company has repeatedly frustrated attempts to negotiate a collective employment agreement with better pay and redundancy.

The company was sold to Lion Breweries but workers were left high and dry with poor redundancy arrangements and uncertain employment prospects.

APN News were nominated for contracting out much of its newspaper and magazine sub-editing work to an Australian firm, Pagemasters, making its own workers redundant in the process.

Finally, and possibly this year's favourite for the grand prize, is GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug and healthcare multinational. It got fined $200,000 after two high school girls proved that, for decades, the multinational has been lying about the Vitamin C content in Ribena.

The Roger Award is organised by the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa and GATT Watchdog. The winner will be announced in March.


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