By signing the Global Framework Agreement, Brunel formalized its commitment to ensuring fundamental human rights by working with labour and the global union. The agreement, which initially applies to Brunel’s operations which fall within the scope of IndustriALL, includes specific reference to the core labour Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, the right to equal pay, no forced or child labour and no discrimination.
The GFA provides for abstention from anti-union discrimination and commits on working against corruption. Brunel also commits to equal opportunity recruitment practices, continuous skills development and to ensuring that remuneration is better than, or at least equal to, conditions set forth in national legislation and collective bargaining agreements. Brunel also expects suppliers and subcontractors to adhere to the ILO conventions, with non-compliance resulting in sanctions, including withdrawal from future contracts.
The agreement came in response to the Howard Government’s use of temporary migrant labour to undercut wages and conditions in Australia. “Under the Howard Government, temporary migrant labour has been terribly exploited through large agency fees, excessive costs for poor quality housing, dismissal when workers become injured, threat of deportation if they join the union and poor wages and conditions,” explained AMWU president Julius Roe. “While strongly supporting immigration on the basis that migrant workers have full citizenship and other rights, the AMWU has sought to expose the plight of these migrant workers and tried to reach collective agreements with companies that seek to use temporary migrant workers,” he said. “The agreement with Brunel ensures that temporary migrant workers are only used where absolutely necessary and that they receive training, equal wages and conditions and union and collective agreement protection.