BY TAMMY FLORES
There are so many complaints the public has with respects to Highway 407 and how it has operated over the past fifteen years. At the heart is 407 ETR’s lack of concern for following consumer protection laws. It seems the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as one of the shareholders in this highway is notorious for ignoring the law in Spain.
Ferrovial is the largest shareholder of 407 ETR, owning 43.23%. They definitely have a say in the day to day operations of 407 ETR and have a double standard for what they expect for the company and what is expected from its customers.
The group “Global Anti-Toll Alliance”, GATA for short, has been highlighting scandals surrounding Ferrovial and questions why governing authorities continue to do business with this foreign company that has a reputation for ignoring the law.
In Spain, the law is that construction companies have sixty days to pay their creditors. In a report released by La Plataforma Multisectorial contra la Morosidad (PMcM), which is available through CNMV, an agency that lists timing of collections and payments in Spain’s construction industry, Ferrovial is reported to be the worst offender of this law. Ferrovial has taken as much as 536 days to pay their suppliers. That’s about ten times the legal limit. This has put some smaller suppliers out of business and has caused an outcry.
When companies like Ferrovial practice business this way, it leaves a lot of heartache because it’s not just that the company has to shut down. People lose jobs. They lose their ability to provide for their families. Sometimes a good paying job is replaced with a job that pays far less and so the standard of living is reduced. Our governing authorities have to stop worrying about these multinational corporations providing jobs and look at what their business practices do to good paying jobs.
Although Ferrovial will take as much as 536 days to pay their suppliers, no financial penalties are imposed on the company. In contrast, the company demands that their customers pay after only thirty four days. As we have seen here in Canada with 407 ETR, not only does this company demand to be paid within thirty four days, but imposes harsh financial penalties to the tune of thousands and thousands of dollars. To make matters worse, our governing authorities help the company perpetuate this gross misconduct by keeping people in what is essentially debtor’s prison by means of Plate Denial, until you pay whatever usury amounts of money the company imposes on you for nonpayment. Talk about your double standards.
Ferrovial can destroy smaller companies, putting them out of business by simply not paying them. Ferrovial can operate a foreign company like 407 ETR and destroy people’s lives by imposing harsh financial penalties for nonpayment and have governing authorities place people in debtor’s prison. A double standard at its finest. The question is why? Why do we continue to allow large multinational corporations do this? Don’t we, as a democratic society, frown on sovereign nations that treat their people in this manner? Then why is our very own governing authorities doing business with a company that does the same thing?