Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Unilever and global unions sign agreement to restrict temporary jobs

10 May, 2019IndustriALL Global Union, the IUF and Unilever have signed a breakthrough agreement to limit the use of temporary workers and protect permanent jobs in Unilever factories.

The Joint Commitment on Sustainable Employment in Unilever Manufacturing sets out principles and procedures to prevent potential harm to fundamental workers’ rights caused by non-permanent employment.

The agreement applies to workers in over 300 Unilever factories in 69 countries, whether employed directly by Unilever or through a third-party provider.

The Joint Commitment restricts the hiring of temporary workers to short-term and non-recurring tasks in Unilever factories, and prevents temporary contracts being used to avoid regular employment.

In a win against zero-hour contracts, temporary workers will  be informed of their work schedules with sufficient notice and not be retained on call without pay.

It requires temporary workers to be given priority when filling permanent positions and promotes: equal pay for equal work; a safe work environment and safety training; and the right of workers to freely form or join a union of their choice without fear of intimidation or harassment.

IndustriALL’s general secretary, Valter Sanches, stated:

“The Joint Commitment is a victory in the fight against precarious work, and protects the rights of factory workers at Unilever’s operations around the globe. Unilever acknowledges that permanent employment is fundamental to world-class manufacturing, and this agreement will promote secure and sustainable jobs at all Unilever factories.”

IndustriALL general secretary, Valter Sanches, Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, and IUF general secretary, Sue Longley.

The agreement prescribes a process of continuous human rights due diligence through engagement and negotiation with the IUF and IndustriALL and their members, representing the vast majority of unionized Unilever workers world-wide.

The IUF general secretary, Sue Longley, said:

“The Joint Commitment addresses the many risks to fundamental rights which have become all too familiar to workers everywhere as employment has become increasingly precarious. We welcome this Joint Commitment, which is the outcome of a long process of engagement with Unilever on precisely these issues and which demonstrates their commitment to working with unions to ensure rights are respected. We look forward to continuous engagement with the company on the basis of the Joint Commitment.”

Under the agreement, Unilever recognizes the key role of trade unions and collective bargaining in protecting and enabling fundamental worker rights.

Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, said:

“Unilever has a 100-year history of commitment to labour rights and respect for employees.  This is an ambitious agreement that we will work hard to honour.”

The agreement was signed in Unilever’s London offices on 10 May by Unilever CEO Alan Jope, IndustriALL general secretary, Valter Sanches, and the IUF general secretary, Sue Longley.