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Trade Union Input to the G7: Decent Work Worldwide


  • Global Supply Chains and Decent Workpdf

The TUAC together with the DGB, the ITUC, and trade union partners has been and will be contributing to various G7 initiatives in the run up to the G7 Summit on 7 and 8 of June. Trade union delegates attended the Sherpa meeting on March 6 and joined the G7 Stakeholder Conference on March 11-12 in Berlin on “Promoting decent work worldwide through sustainable supply chains”. The conference included representatives of governments, international organisations (including the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank and the ILO), trade unions and business to discuss how to move towards more socially sustainable supply chains.

"Standards in the supply chain" is one of the priorities of the German G7 Presidency. The German Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and Development are working towards establishing a G7 Supply Chain Initiative (the components of which are currently under discussion and will be reviewed by the international labour movement).

The DGB, ITUC and TUAC issued a paper with key demands on “Global Supply Chains and Decent Work” – see PDF download on the right – for the conference and future discussions on the topic. This paper focuses on Supply Chain issues only and does not address other trade union priorities for the G7, including on healthcare, which is important in view of the Ebola crisis.

Recent tragedies in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan have exposed appalling working conditions experienced by workers in parts of GSCs, together with violations of human rights.

The paper identifies a series of priorities for tackling such abusive practices and for strengthening respect for workers’ rights including:

  •     Purge Global Supply Chains (GSCs) of forced labour and informal work;
  •     Ensure a minimum living wage and wage fixing mechanism in each nation (ILO Convention 131);
  •     Deliver a social protection floor;
  •     Tackle precarious work by providing for secure employment relationships in GSCs;
  •     Expand global sectoral agreements and International Framework Agreements;
  •     Provide for transparency and traceability of supply chains;
  •     International initiatives that take a rights-based approach to improving workers safety and health;
  •     Develop an ILO Convention to hold MNEs responsible for rights and safety in their supply chains;
  •     Strengthen the focus on social upgrading in policy work on GVCs and link to the G20 work;
  •     Introduce comprehensive National Action Plans towards implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs);
  •     Update the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (ILO MNE Declaration) to extend its application to supply chains, including by incorporating due diligence provisions in line with the UNGPs;
  •     Enact legislation that mandates due diligence by home country MNE's concerning rights and safety in supply chains;
  •     Improve access to non-judicial remedy, including:
      (1) Strengthening  the  complaints  mechanism  of  the  OECD  Guidelines  for Multinational  
           Enterprises, the National Contact Points (NCPs) - see also: www.tuacoecdmneguidelines.org

      (2) Developing a compliance mechanism for the updated ILO MNE Declaration.

The DGB and the German Presidency will hold an outreach meeting with Trade Unions - “Decent work worldwide - a business model for the future?” – on 23th of March in Berlin.

Trade union representatives are set to meet with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel to whom they will present and debate demands for the G7. Prior to that, discussions with representatives from the government, business and the OECD will evolve around questions as to how to ensure effective implementation of labour rights in multinational enterprises through shared responsibility towards decent work and business as outlined in the Trade Union paper. These discussions will feed into the Labour and Development Ministers meeting to be held in October.