Representatives of unions and management from the French company EDF met in Paris to revive the GFA, officially called “Worldwide Corporate Social Responsibility Agreement”.
The Consultation Committee – made up of management and worker representatives – met in Paris from 6-8 July 2016 to review the global framework agreement (GFA) implementation throughout the worldwide operations of the company.
The workers’ side was represented by affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union and Public Services International from France, Belgium, the UK, Poland and Hungary, as well as a workers’ representative from China.
Management was represented by CEO Jean-Bernard Levy and senior HR managers.
EDF and the global unions signed the agreement 11 years ago, committing the company to social responsibility, environmental sustainability and workers’ rights. Unions value the agreement, but expressed their concern about the quality of implementation. According to the unions, implementation of the GFA needs to be improved even though the company is now trying to reduce costs, which is likely to affect workers’ social welfare, and adherence to the agreement.
Reports show that social dialogue is not functionally properly in Belgium, as power plants are being closed, and unions feel that the right to strike and to bargain collectively at national level is not in place.
During the previous year, pension provision has been in danger in the UK, while there has been an attempt at social dumping in call centres. Polish and Hungarian representatives also fear the social aspects of selling projects. The committee has begun to work on a social foundation as a response.
The priorities identified by company, outside the framework of the GFA, are to reduce CO2 emissions; improve health and safety; offer vulnerable people support to access energy; use digital innovation to improve energy efficiency; open dialogue and consultation to all the projects around the world and promote biodiversity.
After a series of discussions, renegotiation of the current agreement is now on the agenda.
IndustriALL Energy director Diana Curiel Junquera said:
“We value EDF’s global level commitments to labour relations, however our global unions have some important red lines. Coverage by the GFA of all operations of the company throughout the world, without exception, is one of them”.
“We also want to see a strong commitment that suppliers and sub-contractors adopt these standards for their workers and of course, a commitment from the company to treat unions positively and remain strict neutrality concerning workers’ rights to take part in union activity.”
EDF, which is largely owned by the French state, is the world’s largest producer of electricity. It produces most of its power through nuclear technology.