Tag

H&S

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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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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Working Conditions and Social Dialogue

By | Belgium, Case-study, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Social dialogue, Spain

This report examines the link between working conditions and social dialogue, highlighting instances where social dialogue has had an impact on working conditions. The impact of social dialogue on working conditions is considered at all levels – national, sectoral, company and workplace levels. There is also a specific focus on occupational health and safety. The first section of the report maps existing research and administrative reports, highlighting the findings of surveys, both quantitative and qualitative, that have identified a link between social dialogue and working conditions. The second section looks at examples of social dialogue drawn from case studies that have had an impact on working conditions in a range of areas. Some examples of incomplete social dialogue are also presented, including possible reasons for the shortcomings. Finally, the report identifies potential lessons for the future in terms of factors that contribute to the success or failure of social dialogue.

The study was compiled on the basis of individual national reports submitted by the EIRO and EWCO correspondents. The text of each of these national reports is available below. The reports have not been edited or approved by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The national reports were drawn up in response to a questionnaire and should be read in conjunction with it.

 

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Fostering economic development through social partnership in Barbados

By | Barbados, Case-study, Social dialogue

Abstract:

Analyses the framework and processes of labour relations and social partnership at the national level in Barbados and explores experiences of social dialogue in relation to improving productivity, technical and vocational education, occupational health and safety and in the tourism sector. Includes a comparison of social dialogue in other Carribean countries.

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Progress and Potential: How Better Work is improving garment workers’ lives and boosting factory competitiveness

By | Social dialogue

To further understand the impact of its work, the Better Work Programme commissioned Tufts University to conduct an independent impact assessment. Since the programme’s inception, Tufts’ interdisciplinary research team has gathered and analysed nearly 15,000 survey responses from garment workers and 2,000 responses from factory managers in Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Nicaragua and Vietnam.

The analysis of these responses represents an in-depth evaluation of Better Work’s effectiveness in changing workers’ lives and boosting factory competitiveness. The researchers used different experimental strategies to evaluate the impact of the programme. These included a strategy to isolate the impact of the programme using randomised intervals of time – reflecting factories’ different periods of exposure to Better Work services – as well as a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of the supervisory skills training.

By capturing this unique set of data and by establishing a rigorous analytical framework and methodology, the researchers were able to test – often for the first time – hypotheses on multiple issues including human resource management strategies, firm organization and global supply chain dynamics. Their assessment is an invaluable contribution to the world’s understanding of labour in global supply chains.

 

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