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IndustriALL raises the bar for global agreements

6 February, 2015IndustriALL Global Union has raised the standards for global framework agreements (GFAs) to better protect trade union and worker rights at all stages of a multinational company’s operations.

The new GFA guidelines were adopted by IndustriALL’s Executive Committee in Tunis in December 2014 following a proposal made by the special Standing Working Group.

The guidelines scale up the negotiation, content and implementation of global agreements, which are designed to safeguard labour rights across the supply chains of multinational companies (MNCs).

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Jyrki Raina, said:

“IndustriALL is convinced that global framework agreements are important instruments for union organizing and improved labour relations at multinational companies and their subsidiaries. The clear procedures we have put in place will make for stronger agreements, as shown by our recent GFA with Total signed at Davos in January.”

Under the new guidelines, GFAs must:

  • cover all company operations throughout the world without exception;
  • include a strong and unequivocal commitment by the multinational company concerned that suppliers and sub-contractors adopt these standards for their workers;
  • guarantee a commitment from the company to treat unions positively, and refrain from all anti-union activities and to remain strictly neutral concerning employee preference to join, remain with, transfer, or abandon their relationship with a union organization;
  • union representatives should have a reasonable access to the workplace;
  • contain an effective mechanism for implementation, enforcement and a procedure for binding dispute resolution.

A GFA must also explicitly include references and recognition of the rights reflected in ILO Conventions including:

  • 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).

Furthermore, GFA’s must be approved by IndustriALL’s trade union affiliates that represent the majority of the unionized workers at the operations of the multinational company concerned.

Once a GFA is signed it must be translated into the agreed languages and made available to everyone working for the company, either directly or indirectly.

IndustriALL has GFAs with 44 multinational companies covering 10 million workers in a range of sectors.