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Organisation – CNV Internationaal

A practical CNV Guide to the RUGGIE principles

By | Case-study, Indonesia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Social dialogue, United States

Introduction: an important resource

Is this a situation you recognise? For some years you have been negotiating with the branch or a supplier of a large international company which by now has also firmly established itself in the ‘low wage countries’. You negotiate about collective bargaining agreements and you can’t manage to reach a good consensus about wages and working conditions for employees. Even though you know that the company
has arranged these things properly in its country of origin. So what do you do?

As a trade union leader you have a particular responsibility within your company, sector or industry: you protect and promote labour rights. It’s certainly not easy to protest against abuses or wrongs at the local branches of foreign companies.

With the help of your international network of trade union organisations and your status as a partner organisation of CNV Internationaal, you can in fact play an important role here. That’s because the CNV trade unions work to benefit people and the environment, and look further than the national boundaries. After all, CNV leaders, officials or members of the Works Council are active within international companies in the Netherlands that also operate branches abroad or purchase from foreign suppliers. Sustainability and international solidarity are two of CNV’s core values. We believe it is important that employees’ human rights are respected all over the world.

 

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Joint Agreement on international responsible business conduct in the garment sector

By | Social dialogue

Making sustainability the norm rather than the exception: that’s the aim of the Dutch joint sector Agreements on Responsible Business Conduct. Companies, trade unions, civil society organisations and the Dutch government are working together to ensure respect for human rights throughout international supply chains. The Dutch trade union confederation CNV and its international department, CNV Internationaal, are actively participating in the establishment of these agreements.

Doing business in other countries entails risks. Companies can become involved – either directly or indirectly – in child labour, unsafe working conditions or pollution of the local environment. Responsible Business Conduct means it is essential for businesses to carefully map these risks in order to avoid or mitigate them. The term for this is “due diligence”, otherwise known as RBC risk management. The sector greements (also called covenants) on Responsible Business Conduct offer companies the opportunity to work together at sector level in conjunction with the government, trade unions and civil society organisations to tackle the risks to people and planet in their global value chains. The textile and garment industry was the first sector to formally join forces when its agreement was signed on 4 July 2016. The
banking sector followed suit on 28 October 2016. Other agreements are being prepared in a broad range of sectors.

 

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Violence Against Women at the Workplace

By | Benin, Case-study, Honduras, Indonesia, Social dialogue

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AT THE WORKPLACE

Violence against women at the workplace is a major problem, though the statistical evidence is not well developed for many countries. This report aims at gaining a better insight into the extent to which working women are facing violence at work. The research focussed on the extent and characteristics of violence against women at the workplace and on the perpetrators of violence, notably bosses, co-workers or clients/patients/customers/pupils and similar. It focusses on women in the working age population (15-65 years of age), hence adolescent and adult women.

Our research focussed on sexual harassment and bullying at the workplace. It did neither cover domestic violence against women nor human trafficking and forced prostitution, because the causes and consequences of these phenomena are different from those of violence at the workplace, and so are the statistics. The research also does not include indirect violence against women, such as job insecurity due to flexibility of employment contracts. In addition, it will also not focus on gender-biased issues related to health and safety at work.

The research focussed on violence against women at the workplace in four countries: Honduras, Indonesia, Moldova, and Benin. Each country report starts with an overview concerning the female workforce in that country, followed by a description of the legal framework concerning violence at work. It then tries to provide an overview of the institutional responses to violence at work. Although data on the incidence of violence against women at work are mostly quite scarce, the research tries to estimate the frequencies of these types of violence in the countries at stake. Then, the reports provide anecdotal evidence of violence at work, and end with conclusions and recommendations.

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Palming off responsibility – Labour rights violations in the Indonesian palm oil sector

By | Case-study, Indonesia, Social dialogue

The case studies in this research describe how two RSPO-certified palm oil companies structurally violate the labour rights of their workers. In both cases, workers are forced to work unpaid overtime in order to reach unrealistic production targets. Furthermore, these targets have motivated workers to bring their wives and children to work, thus giving rise to child labour. Other rights violations found in the field research included union busting, workers never receiving employment contracts, inadequate PPE provision and inadequate medical services. Thus, many workers’ rights violations were found that breach the RSPO standard, international law, Indonesian law, or all of the above.

This report provides a brief discussion of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Indonesia, in an attempt to showcase some of the pitfalls that hamper this process. Two of these are uncertainty over whether Indonesia has a monist or a dualist legal system, and organisational and political issues with developing the country’s National Action Plan. The lack of implementation and enforcement of the UNGPs in Indonesia are illustrated by the company case studies, and the company’s violations of rights enshrined in UN conventions, such as children’s right not to work.

Furthermore, the international standing and reputation of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is discussed. Dutch companies that use palm oil in their products have joined the RSPO in an attempt to make their palm oil supply chains more sustainable and to ensure that the palm oil they buy has taken place free of labour rights violations and environmental degradation, among other criteria. NGO reports show that, at least on an incidental basis, the RSPO certifies palm oil produced by companies that commit exactly the types of human rights and environmental violations that motivated the creation of the RSPO.

Although further research would be needed to underwrite such a sweeping statement about the RSPO, the case studies presented in this report show that RSPO certification is not necessarily an assurance of sustainable palm production, and thus give cause for scepticism towards the initiative. Companies should therefore not depend solely on certification, but should undertake their own supply chain due diligence to ensure their business partners do not commit labour and human rights violations, so that they can safeguard their own compliance with the UNGPs.

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Ending and Preventing Violence Against Women at the Workplace

By | Guide, Social dialogue

Gender based violence at the workplace continues to be one of the most harrowing forms of abuse of human rights where labor is concerned. Victims of this violence are not inclined to report it to the authorities often, because of the fear of retribution.

There is no international standard

Many countries have adopted laws against this specific form of violence. In practice these are often insufficient. There is, however, no international standard that could be the foundation for better regulations.

Towards an ILO convention

This is why the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation ILO decided in November 2015 to put a standard setting item on the agenda of the 2018 International Labour Conference (ILC), under the name of ‘Violence against women and men in the world of work’. CNV Internationaal, together with trade union partner organisations, wants to focus on this topic in the run-up to the 2018 ILC.

To learn more about ways towards ending violence at work, check our guide.

 

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Vietnam country study: Labour Standards in the Garment Supply Chain

By | Case-study, Social dialogue

Introduction

The present country study on Vietnam, has been carried out in June 2016 for CNV Internationaal in the context of the
Partnership for Supply Chain Transformation. It is based on desk and original research on the current status of the industry structure, social dialogue, gender-based violence and living wage debates in the apparel industry in Vietnam for use in the first phase of this project.

The Fair Wear Foundation with its alliance partners CNV Internationaal and FNV Mondiaal has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation starting 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework. The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of Trade Unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international RMG supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. Opportunities will be identified to develop pilot experiences in the supply chain resulting in good practices related to living wages, gender-based violence and freedom of association and collective bargaining, which will facilitate more effective social dialogue and monitoring of human rights compliance at the factory level and reinforce the value of NGOs and trade unions to all supply chain stakeholders.

 

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Pakistan country study 2016: Labour standards in the garment supply chain

By | Pakistan, Social dialogue

Executive summary

The present country study on Pakistan, has been carried out in December 2016 for CNV Internationaal in the context of the Partnership for Supply Chain Transformation. It is based on desk and original research on the current status of the industry structure, social dialogue, gender-based violence and living wage debates in the apparel industry in Vietnam for use in the first phase of this project. The Fair Wear Foundation with its alliance partners CNV Internationaal and FNV Mondiaal has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation starting 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework.

The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of Trade Unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international Ready Made Garments supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. Opportunities will be identified to develop pilot experiences in the supply chain resulting in good practices related to living wages, gender-based violence and freedom of association and collective bargaining, which will facilitate more effective social dialogue and monitoring of human rights compliance at the factory level and reinforce the value of NGOs and trade unions to all supply chain stakeholders.
This report gives insight into the garment/ textile industry of Pakistan and its related industry, labour laws, industrial
relations and industry. The study was developed after a desk study and a subsequent visit to Pakistan to interview
stakeholders on issues related to the garment industry.

 

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Country study Cambodia 2016: Labour Standards in the Garment Supply Chain

By | Cambodia, Case-study, Social dialogue

The present country study on Cambodia, has been carried out for CNV Internationaal in the context of the Partnership for Supply Chain Transformation. is based on desk and original research on the current status of the industry structure, social dialogue, gender-based violence and living wage debates in the apparel industry in Cambodia for use in the first phase of this project.

The Fair Wear Foundation with its alliance partners CNV Internationaal and FNV Mondiaal has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a five year Strategic partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation starting 2016 as part of its “Dialogue and Dissent” policy framework. The primary goal of this initiative is to improve the lobbying and advocacy capacity of Trade Unions and labour related NGOs by enhancing their understanding of international RMG supply chains, access to critical information and know-how. Opportunities will be identified to develop pilot experiences in the supply chain resulting in good practices related to living wages, gender-based violence and freedom of association and collective bargaining, which will facilitate more effective social dialogue and monitoring of human rights compliance at the factory level and reinforce the value of NGOs and trade unions to all supply chain stakeholders.

 

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Value of Social Dialogue

By | Guide, Social dialogue

Social dialogue for the improvement of global working conditions

Social dialogue. A concept with a seemingly simple meaning: to talk to each other A constructive social dialogue is an essential tool for improvements where work and income are concerned. During the last 50 years, CNV Internationaal and its trade union partners learned important lessons on social dialogue.

In the Netherlands we know the ‘polder model’ or ‘consensus decision-making’. Trade unions, employers and often the government as well, reach agreements about employment conditions, working conditions and workers’ rights through social dialogue. Despite the fact that this is not always easy, not even in the Netherlands, we realise that constructive dialogue is an important tool for sustainable improvements and development. The Netherlands has proper procedures in place for this type of dialogue. This is not always the case in other countries. This is concerning to me and CNV Internationaal. Social dialogue is part of CNV’s DNA. Our Christian and social principles mean that we are committed to treat each other with respect. Social dialogue has the same intention. It means that nobody should be excluded (inclusivity) and that we cooperate in finding solutions. This is a prime example of the way in which CNV Internationaal is socially engaged and achieves results.

This booklet outlines how and why social dialogue works. It gives examples of best practice from our trade union partners. The basic idea of social dialogue is that the parties reach a consensus. However difficult this may be at times. As far as we are concerned, this is the only sustainable way of improving working conditions worldwide.

Pieter de Vente,
Chairman CNV Internationaal
General secretary CNV Vakcentrale
(National Christian Confederation of Trade Unions in the Netherlands)

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