Gamesa, the Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, has signed a Global Framework Agreement covering social, labour and environmental issues with IndustriALL Global Union and its Spanish affiliates, CCOO Industry, MCA-UGT and FITAG-UGT.
This agreement, the world’s first involving a company in the renewable energy sector, was signed on 18 February in Madrid by IndustriALL general secretary, Jyrki Raina, Gamesa Chief Executive Officer, José Antonio Cortajarena, Gamesa Human Resources Director, Javier Treviño, and Carlos Romero, Antonio Deusa and Agustín Martín, general secretaries of the MCA-UGT, FITAG-UGT and CCOO Industry unions respectively.
The agreement, which will apply to all companies in the Gamesa group and to all its employees worldwide, includes new clauses that strengthen the rights of workers and trade unions, introduce the principle of neutrality, establish the pre-eminence of international agreements over potentially lax national standards, ensure the right of access to workplaces by workers’ representatives and strengthen trade union networks.
One of the most innovative points of the agreement is that Gamesa management will monitor and supervise the agreement jointly with IndustriALL and the national trade unions (FITAG-UGT, MCA-UGT and CCOO Industry). A new coordination and monitoring body will be created and will meet regularly. It will produce a report every two years on progress in implementing the agreement with a view to updating the agreement.
Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary, said:
IndustriALL is convinced that global framework agreements are important instruments for trade union organization and for improving labour relations in multinational companies and their subsidiaries.
The global agreement signed commits the company to the development and protection of its workers worldwide and makes health and safety at work, working conditions and equal opportunities key issues for company action, said Carlos Romero.
Antonio Deusa said: “The importance of achieving this agreement is that it highlights the commitment of the signatory organizations to Gamesa employees, wherever their workplaces are located.”
Agustín Martín said that global agreements like this one “give substance to trade union attempts to persuade companies to adopt genuine corporate social responsibility practices throughout their production networks. This guarantees an improvement in labour standards and working conditions at the global level, in accordance with the particular circumstances in each country and region of the world”.
The Global Framework Agreement for the Gamesa Group includes the following provisions:
- A commitment to the development and protection of employees worldwide;
- It strengthens social, labour and environmental rights already contained in the Group’s Code of Conduct; makes health and safety at work, working conditions and equal opportunities key issues for company action; guarantees implementation and promotes the conditions for a social dialogue at the international level;
- It will apply to all companies in the Gamesa Group and to all its employees. Gamesa, which is based in Spain, currently has operations in Germany, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Costa Rica, USA, Egypt, Finland, France, Greece, Honduras, Hungry, India, Ireland, Italy, Morocco, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey and Uruguay, as well as in our own country;
- A commitment to respect basic social rights (especially labour rights and trade union representation), human rights and civil liberties, equal opportunities, merit and non-discrimination on grounds of race, sex, ideology, nationality, disability, beliefs or any other personal, physical or social condition. A commitment to observe ILO Conventions on age of access to work, the worst forms of child labour, forced labour, non-discrimination in labour relations, equal pay for work of equal value, freedom of association and the protection of trade union rights, the right to organize, to collective bargaining and to employee representation in order to prevent any kind of discrimination against workers involved in trade union activities;
- Principle of neutrality: in accordance with ILO Conventions 87 and 98, the agreement clearly establishes a commitment to observe the principle of neutrality, which requires companies to respect workers’ decisions regarding the election of their representatives and the creation and operation of unions of their choice;
- Rejects corruption and bribery;
- A commitment to inform suppliers, contractors and collaborators of the contents of its Code of Conduct and this Global Framework Agreement;
- Company management, IndustriALL Global and the national trade unions will jointly supervise this GFA using mechanisms described in the text of the agreement.
About Global Framework Agreements
Global Framework Agreements (GFAs) protect the interests of workers employed in all operations of the multinational companies who sign them.
GFAs are negotiated at the global level between trade unions and a multinational company. They establish the best possible standards on trade union rights; on health, safety and environmental practices; and on the labour relations principles adhered to by the company in its global operations, regardless of the standards existing in a particular country.
Include all the operations of a company throughout the world, without exception;
Make a firm and unequivocal commitment by the multinational company in question that suppliers and contractors will adopt these same standards for their workers;
Guarantee the company’s commitment to maintain a positive attitude towards trade unions, abstain from all anti-trade union activity and remain strictly neutral with regard to their employees’ preferences regarding joining, remaining in, changing to or leaving any particular trade union;
Allow trade union representatives reasonable access to workplaces;
Contain effective implementation and compliance mechanisms and a binding dispute resolution procedure.
GFAs should make explicit reference to and recognize the rights set out in ILO Conventions, including the following:
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining (Conventions 87 and 98);
- Discrimination (Conventions 100 and 111);
- Forced labour (Conventions 29 and 105);
- Child labour (Conventions 138 and 182).
In addition, GFAs must be approved by the trade union affiliates of IndustriALL that represent the majority of trade union members among the employees of the corresponding multinational company.
Once a GFA has been signed, it must be translated into the agreed languages and made available to all company employees, whether employed directly or indirectly.