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International Instruments for Protection and Promotion of Workers’ Rights in the Era of Globalization . Points for Discussions. Summary of international instruments available for trade unions in their campaigns for core labour standards and labour rights;

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International Instruments for Protection and Promotion of Workers’ Rightsin the Era of Globalization

points for discussions
Points for Discussions
  • Summary of international instruments available for trade unions in their campaigns for core labour standards and labour rights;
  • Focus on multinational enterprises as a focal point for trade union campaigns
international opportunities for tu
International Opportunities for TU


  • UN Declration on Human Rights, Internatonal Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, the UN GLOBAL compact


  • Conventions/recommendations
  • Supervisory mechanism
  • FoA
  • ILO Declaration on Fundamental Workers Rights
  • ILO Tripartite Declaration on MNEs and Follow-up


  • Guidelines on MNEs
  • TUAC


  • SAP’s and PRSP


G8 and regional / bilateral /unilateral initiatives

  • Consultations with labour unions and labour rights clauses

CSR and private voluntary initiatives

  • Codes of conduct
  • Negotiated instruments
  • Framework agreements
un global compact 1
UN Global Compact (1)
  • Shared value for the global market, promoting global citizenship
  • 10 Principles
    • Human Rights

1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.

2. Make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

un global compact 2
UN Global Compact (2)

- Labour

3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

4. The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

5. The effective abolition of child labour;

6. Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment occupation.

- Environment

7. Business should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

8. Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;

9. Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

  • Corruption

10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery

ilo and the international labour code
  • Conventions
  • Recommendations
  • Declarations
ilo conventions supervisory mechanism
ILO Conventions:Supervisory Mechanism
  • For Ratified Conventions
    • Article 22 Report - Review by CEACR
    • Article 24 : Representation
    • Article 26 : Complaint
  • For Non-Ratified Conventions
    • Article 19(5-e) Report
  • For Freedom of Association matters
    • Special procedure through Committee on Freedom of Association

ILO Declaration

Annual Reviewon Non-ratified Core Standards


General Survey

ilo declaration on fondamental principles and rights at work
ILO Declaration on Fondamental Principles and Rights at Work
  • Core labour standards:
  • FoA and C.B.
  • Discrimination
  • Forced labour
  • Child labour
ilo tripartite declaration on principles concerning mnes
ILO Tripartite Declaration on Principles concerning MNEs
  • Adopted in 1977 by GB (amended in 2000) as a voluntary instrument to:
    • Regulate conduct of MNEs
    • Define the terms of MNEs relations with host countries, esp. in labour-related and social issues
  • Aims for:
    • Enhancing the positive social and labour effects of the operations of MNEs
ilo mne declaration follow up
ILO MNE Declaration: Follow-up
  • A Procedure adopted by GB in 1980 (revised in 1986) as promotional tool to:
    • provide for the submission of requests for interpretation in cases of dispute on the meaning/application of its provisions
  • Survey
    • The effect given to the principles of the Declaration is “monitored” through a periodic survey (7th Survey for 96-99)
oecd guidelines for mnes
OECD Guidelinesfor MNEs
  • Adopted in 1976, and reviewed in 2000
  • Guidelines is:
    • Recommendations addressed by governments to MNEs
    • Voluntary principles and standards for responsible business conduct
  • Major components: NCP, CIME, and TUAC
oecd guidelines 2000 review
OECD Guidelines : 2000 Review
  • Expanded Coverage
    • All core standards, environment performance, human rights, corruption and consumer interests
    • Global application, not just in OECD countries
  • Strengthened National Contact Point (NCPs)
    • handle enquiries, assist in solving problems, and report and meet annually on national experiences
    • promote Guidelines for effective implementation
  • New Actor : NGO
imf wb
  • SAPs
  • PRSP
csr and private voluntary initiatives
CSR and private voluntary initiatives
  • Initiatives undertaken by management
  • CSR and the process of globalising production (EPZ)
  • Importance of the image of the company/fragility of markets
csr and tu
CSR and TU
  • CSR is a positive process for TU if:

- Strengthen FoA and the creation of unions

  • Strengthen C.B
  • Support organising
  • Not only comply with the law but it goes beyond national legislation (socially and ethically responsible to stakeholders/local communities)
  • Alliances TU and civil society
development of private voluntary initiatives pvi
Development ofPrivate Voluntary Initiatives (PVI)

As response of global community to the growing power of MNEs

  • Alternative Trade Organizations
  • Social Labelling (SL)
  • Codes of Conduct
  • New Codes of Conduct (New COC)
  • Framework Agreements (FA)



code of conduct
Code of Conduct
  • Unilateral declaration, mainly for social appeal
  • Code of conduct for business
    • consumer rights, product safety or environmental protection
    • ethical behaviour codes for employees
  • International instruments to monitor the social responsibility of business
    • ILO MNE Declaration
    • OECD Guidelines for MNEs
    • attempt by UN to set a global code

Note:These are not VPIs!

new code of conduct
New Code of Conduct

Four Major Characteristics

  • Purely private, voluntary initiative (PVI)
  • Response to the situation of poor labour standards created by the failure of national governments;
  • international application
  • Cross-cutting application to suppliers and subcontractors
definition of new code of conduct
Definition of New Code of Conduct

“Commitments voluntarily made by companies, associations or other entities which put forth standards and principles for the conduct of business activities in the marketplace”

(“Workers’ tool or PR ploy?” – by Dr. I. Wick)

number of new codes
Number of New Codes
  • 246 codes (June 2000 by OECD study)
    • 118 by individual companies, 92 by industry and trade associations, 32 by partnerships between stakeholders and 4 by inter-governmental organizations
    • Only 163 mention monitoring
    • Only 30% mention freedom of association, and only10.1% refer to ILO codes
certification systems and social quality labels
Certification Systems and Social Quality Labels
  • ETI (Ethical trade Initiative, UK)
  • FLA (Fair Labour Association, USA)
  • FWF (Fair Wear Foundation, NL)
  • TCFUA (Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia
  • WRC (Worker Right Consortium, USA)
  • WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production, USA)
  • ISEA (Institute of Social Ethical Accountability, UK)
  • FLO (Fair Label Organization, UE)
  • SA8000 (Social Accountability 8000, USA/Europe)
  • Social Accountability Certification for Consumers (Italy)
  • DET Sociale Indeks (Denmark)
  • Label Socialment Responsable (France)
why new codes are important for trade unions
Why New Codes are important for Trade Unions?

New Codes are on “labour practice”

Great potential and also danger

Most companies adopt COC without involving trade unions

So, they can be used as an excuse for having no union

Truly applied, codes may establish ILSs as binding international framework for responsible corporate behaviour

So, union’s involvement is vital

negotiated agreements and global labour relations
Negotiated agreements and global labour relations
  • Framework agreements negotiated between:

Global union Federations (GUFs) and MNEs

framework agreements
Framework Agreements

“An agreement negotiated between an MNE and an international trade union organization (such a GUFs) concerning the international activities (or behaviour)of the company”

Main purpose of framework agreements is to establish an ongoing relationship between the MNE and the GUFs to frame “principles” of industrial relations and good labour practices

major framework agreements
Major Framework Agreements
  • IUF- Danone (1988), Accor hotel group (1995), Nestle (1996), Del Monte (2000) and Chiquita (2001)
  • IFBWW- Ikea (1998), Faber-Castell (2000), Hochtief (2000)
  • ICEM- Statoil (1998), Freudenberg (2000)
  • UNI- Telefonica (2000), OTE (2001), Carrefour (2001)
three important aspects for coc and fa
Three Important Aspects for CoC and FA
  • Capacity of GUFs to engage in F.A. or Codes of conduct with a large number of MNEs
  • Capacity of MNEs to control subcontractors or supply-chains
  • Practical applications (implementation) of F.A.and codes of conduct
international instruments
International Instruments



Framework Agreements

ILO Tripartite Declaration on MNCs

UN Global Compact


ILO Declaration on F.P.R.W.

OECD Guidelines for MNCs

Code of Conducts

Social Labelling

Regional Economic Agreement



National Labour Relation / Tripartite Committees

Labour Legislation


policy and strategy for t u
Policy and Strategy for T.U.
  • Set up institutional mechanisms and capacities to fully utilize all the available international instruments
    • Regular reporting
    • Complaints procedures in case of violation
    • Multilateral approaches to problem-solving
  • Importance of International, Regional, and Sub-regional trade union networks/IT and communication systems
programme for workers activities of the ilo turin centre actrav www itcilo it actrav