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The agreement, effective in all countries in which Electricite de France (EDF Group), the rapidly expanding French utility has controlling companies, affirms a commitment to uphold all Fundamental ILO Core Conventions on Trade Union and workers' rights, UN Declarations on Human Rights, and the ten principles of the UN's Global Compact.

Also involved in negotiating the agreement were trade union and worker representatives from throughout EDF Group operations worldwide. Other international trade union organizations involved in negotiating the agreement include Public Services International, International Federation of Mining and Energy and the World Federation of Industry Workers.

Health and safety of EDF workers, and employees of EDF Group contractors is cited as a "priority." The agreement reflects the importance of safety training and actions to prevent occupational hazards. It also contains responsible language on communicating to local communities potential environmental hazards, and implementing a policy to prevent and reduce known hazards. It also pledges to the development of renewable energies.

EDF Group commits to ensure that "each employee of every EDF-controlled company shall be covered by social benefits system providing for protection in view of his/her future retirement and to ensure his/her physical and moral dignity in the event of workplace accidents, illness or maternity."

The agreement also has language regarding contractors performing EDF work. Principles cited include full compliance with international standards; legal compliance; employee health and safety; ethical behaviour towards customers; and respect for the environment.

The agreement is valid for a three-year period and within six months of today's signatory date, dialogue between labour and management at all EDF Group companies will be initiated on the conditions and implementation of the agreement. A review of the Global Agreement's universal implementation will occur each year, and a Consultative Committee on EDF Group Corporate Social Responsibility (CCSR) that includes representatives from each signatory trade union and international union organization has been created to conduct the annual reviews. Additionally, the secretary of EDF Group's European Works Council is an ex officio member of CCSR.

EDF Group employs 167,000 workers worldwide. It operates in France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, as well as performing engineering and consulting services in other Central and Eastern European countries. It has sales and distributive operations in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and is rapidly moving into China, Laos and Vietnam. The Paris-based utility also is active in power production or distribution in Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

Facts on EDF GFA

Agreement signed: 24 January 2005

Home country union: FCE-CFDT, France