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The Associated Press January 16, 2012, 9:39PM ET

Argentina says Monsanto contractor abuses workers

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.


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