19 January, 2018The three global unions today signed a global framework agreement (GFA) with the renewable materials company Stora Enso at the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, in the presence of ILO Director General Guy Ryder. Observer signatures were made by the presidents of the Swedish Paper Workers’ Union, the Swedish Union of Forestry, Wood and Graphical Workers’, and the Finnish Paper Workers’ Union.
In the GFA, Stora Enso commits to working with the three global unions in order to uphold fundamental labour rights throughout its global operation and subsidiaries. The company will strive to implement the principles of the GFA throughout its supply chain.
The GFA specifically focuses on:
- Freedom of association
- No child labour or forced labour
- Work with unions to improve health and safety
- Migrant rights
- Decent pay
- Gender equality
IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary, Valter Sanches, stated at the signing:
“I congratulate Stora Enso and welcome our new formal relationship that gives us the means to uphold workers’ rights throughout the company’s global operation. I call upon other pulp and paper manufacturers to follow this example.”
Stora Enso’s CEO, Karl-Henrik Sundström, said:
“We strive for a working environment where all our employees are treated with respect and in a fair manner. We are continuously working to make sure that all our units comply with the requirements. By signing the Global Framework agreement, we show our commitment and take the next step in this important area."
There is a dispute resolution mechanism established by the GFA. Under the mechanism, issues will be addressed at the local level, but where necessary will be brought to national and global level and ultimately to mediation.
The GFA formalizes an on-going dialogue between the partners and all signatories will meet every two years to assess the implementation of the GFA.
However, the spirit of the global agreement establishes open dialogue through which the partners will work jointly to pre-emptively solve problems as early as possible.
UNI Global Union General Secretary, Philip Jennings said:
“The agreement is an excellent way to begin the year in which we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Stora Enso is taking a significant step in the right direction for workers' right along their supply chain by signing up to this agreement.
“This agreement is further recognition that workers' rights are human rights. The importance of global framework agreements has not only been acknowledged by companies like Stora Enso, but also by the G20 and international organisations around the world."
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, stated:
“In signing this agreement, Stora Enso commits to ensure fundamental labour rights for workers in their global operations and subsidiaries. We, now look forward to actively working with Stora Enso to effectively implement this agreement on the ground to improve the lives of workers.”