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Tools for Global Justice

Tools for Global Justice

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Picture: Insecure working conditions were the main theme when IF Metall and the other member countries in the International Metalworkers’ Federation gathered in Sao Bernando in Brazil. The Brazilian trade unions and participants in the meeting arranged a joint manifestation in a ‘global march against insecure working conditions’. Photo: Mats Svensson

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Tools for Global Justice


Contents Foreword

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A globalised world

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How can the trade union movement face up to globalisation? ILO OECD Other initiatives

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SKF’s global works council offers trade union influence Kennet Carlsson’s account

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Global meeting in Volvo has strengthened trade union membership

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International Framework Agreement

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The route to an agreement Step 1 – What do we want to get out of the agreement? Step 2 – What are the circumstances like? Step 3 – Make contacts and set up a network Step 4 – Initiate contacts with the company Step 5 – Outline the content – rules, implementation and monitoring IF Metall’s proposed model agreement Preamble Objective Scope Respect for freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining Employees must choose to work of their own free will Prohibition of child labour No discrimination or threats are allowed Decent wages, working hours and working conditions Implementation and follow-up Step 6 – Involve other trade unions and global federations in the process Step 7 – Negotiate and come to an agreement

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Links to organisations mentioned in this publication

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Other useful links

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IF Metall’s model for an international framework agreement

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Foreword There is a red thread that links our trade union activities at home in our workplaces and in Sweden to our international commitment in the world around us. This is how I would like to view IF Metall’s trade union commitment – a sense of purpose, solidarity and transnational scope. Solidarity between the workers of the world helps us to create democracy and just conditions. In a globalised world wage-earners have to unite so that they can be strong, both locally and globally. Today far too many people are living without liberty and under oppression. People are always the victims and suffer harm when companies hunt for cheap labour and low production costs. This is happening all the time, day after day all over the world. Unhealthy workplaces, wage dumping and insecure working conditions. IF Metall is a new trade union with a long history of international trade union activity. We have embraced this cause ever since the first trade unions were founded well over a century ago. Today the international perspective is with us every day, with all the benefits and drawbacks this involves. The world has become smaller. A rapid decision by the board of a company on the other side of the globe can have an inescapable impact on employees who at that very moment are beginning their shifts in secure and familiar environments. IF Metall has a positive attitude to global free trade and sees in it the possibility for more people in the world today to get better living conditions. But this must not be trade that is free from trade union and human rights. The regulations and conditions that companies undertake to abide by in international trade agreements must also include the rights of their employees, in other words the right to organise, the right to bargain and sign collective agreements and also the right to reasonable working and living conditions. If companies are really serious in their commitments to human rights, it is not enough for them to adopt their own unilateral codes of conduct. Employees must be given influence on their work and on social issues. This can be achieved by signing international framework agreements and setting up global works councils. It is the employees that know most about compliance with regulations. Cooperation between the executive management and the employees’ organisations makes it possible to remedy any failings that may occur. All the employees in a group have the right to decent and just conditions. This publication is intended to offer practical guidance for elected trade union officials working in multinational groups. It offers suggestions about how to take the different steps towards an international framework agreement and international trade union cooperation within a group of companies. Stefan Löfven President, IF Metall

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Tools for Global Justice


A globalised world Today major and rapid changes are taking place in the world around us. Jobs are changing. Companies are being bought up, sold and moving abroad. Trade across borders is increasing. The world is becoming smaller and countries entwined in mutual dependence on each other. Globalisation is not in itself based on any political ideology. It is rather the outcome of the way in which advanced communication technology, low transport costs and unrestricted free trade have reduced distances between people and cultures, which can hardly be seen as an evil. It is how and for what purpose we use these new communication possibilities and increasing closeness that is decisive. What is special about globalisation is that it has taken place very rapidly in recent decades. Barriers have been removed, regulations abolished and new technology developed all the time. It is difficult for companies and people to keep up. And companies have to adapt to all of this to survive in a global economy. Different sectors and niches make different demands and the strategies of companies often vary. Irrespective of which strategy or strategies companies opt for, they involve consequences for their employees. With threats of relocalisation or closure companies want to introduce flexible terms of employment and wages systems. Companies increase the proportion of agency workers and short-term employees to make it easier to adapt their organisation to demand for their products. This is how we can see the impact of globalisation even in our own workplaces. Our local conditions are affected to a very great extent by what is going on globally in the world around us: how customs barriers and import quotas are disappearing, what conditions look like for industrial workers in China, what degree of training the labour force in India has acquired or the taxes that electronic companies in Indonesia have to pay.

Photo: Mats Wingborg

Workers employed by Sweden’s Atlas Copco in the Indian city of Pune – a city that has the greatest concentration of Swedish industrial companies outside Sweden.

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Foto: Denny Lorentzen

As consumers we can be more aware and demand to know that the goods we buy have been manufactured in decent working conditions.

How can the trade union movement face up to globalisation? All over the world the Internationale has been sung at meetings in the trade unions and workers’ movements. But in this age of globalisation it is the companies that have become the real internationalists. The trade union movement has to strengthen its international links. In far too many countries free trade unions are under pressure from companies that want to maximise their profits. The freedom of the trade unions is often restricted by governments that want to attract foreign capital. Employees have no help when they resist employers that want long shifts for low wages in substandard working environments.

ILO The fact that trade union and human rights are infringed even though there are international conventions to deal with the problem is, of course, nothing new. The United Nations organisation for labour market issues, the International Labour Organization, ILO, has adopted a number of conventions that countries have ratified. Eight of them were considered so important that the ILO raised to them the status of human rights which every member country of the UN is therefore required to comply with, irrespective of whether they have ratified them or not. Two of them, 87 and 98, have direct significance for the trade union organisations.

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The ILO core conventions C29 Forced Labour (1930) Requires the prohibition of all forms of forced labour. Certain exceptions are permitted such as military service and emergency situations (for instance war, earthquakes and fires). C87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948) Establishes the right of all workers and employees to found and join the organisation of their choice. The convention also guarantees that the organisations will be free from interference from public authorities. C98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949) This convention offers protection from anti-union discrimination, against the interference by workers’ and employers’ organisations in each other’s operations and also against measures that obstruct collective bargaining. C100 Equal Remuneration (1951) Equal pay for men and women for work of equal value. C105 Abolition of Forced Labour (1957) Prohibits the use of every form of forced labour as a means of political coercion or education, punishment for holding or expressing political or ideological views, punishment for taking part in strikes or demonstrations, etc. C111 Discrimination (1958) Lays down that there has to be a national policy to eliminate discrimination in respect of access to employment, further training and working conditions on the basis of race, colour, gender, religion, political opinions, national extraction or social origin, etc. C138 Minimum Age (1973) To eliminate child labour this convention forbids the employment of those who have not completed primary education (the age varies from country to country). C182 Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999) Demands direct and effective measures to prevent and eliminate the worst forms of child labour. These include slavery and the like, forced recruitment for armed conflicts, the exploitation of children for prostitution or pornography and the prohibition of all activities and work that involve the risk of injury to the health, safety or morals of children.

OECD The Organization for Economic Cooperation, OECD, has laid down guidelines for the conduct of multinational companies. These also contain sections on working conditions that exhort companies to respect the rights of their employees to be represented by trade unions and to initiate constructive negotiations on collective agreements. Each of the OECD’s 30 member countries is obliged to establish national contact centres to which breaches of the guidelines have to be reported. IF Metall is represented in the Swedish contact centre, which is maintained by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

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Other initiatives Several other international initiatives have been taken in this area. One that deserves mention is the Global Compact, an initiative of the former SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. This enables companies to adopt 10 principles for human rights, labour market rights, environmental concern and against corruption voluntarily. In Sweden there is now a similar programme called Globalt Ansvar [Global Responsibility]. By 2008 just under 20 Swedish companies had joined. SA 8000 is another voluntary programme that companies can join. In doing so they agree to comply with its demands and accept follow-up by accredited SA 8000 auditors. In joining the Business Social Compliance Initiative, BSCI, companies undertake to comply with a joint code of conduct which comprises, for instance, about twenty conventions and recommendations from the ILO. Here too there are regulations about their implementation and follow up. On the other hand there is no external monitoring. Today about 20 Swedish companies, mainly retailers, are members of the BSCI. In addition to all this, there are all the unilateral codes of conduct that many companies have themselves adopted. Their quality and contents can vary a great deal and it is difficult to monitor compliance with them.

SKF’s global works council offers trade union influence

A global works council was established in SKF as long ago as 1975. Initially the trade union representatives all over the world were able to meet once every three years. During the 1980s these meetings became more frequent. The next major stage came in connection with the adoption by the EU in 1994 of the European Works Council (EWC) Directive. SKF and the trade union organisations decided to integrate the EWC with the global council. As a result the global works council began to meet once each year. The trade union global works council now comprises representatives from SKF plants in 17 countries. Each local union is allowed to send one representative for every 1000 or fraction of 1000 members they have in their own country. If a union wants to send additional representatives to the meetings as observers they have to bear the costs themselves, as they are not covered by the global works council agreement with SKF. Most of SKF’s production takes place in Germany, which is where most of the delegates come from. Other countries with large numbers of employees are Argentina, Brazil, France, India, Italy, China and the USA. The members of the global works council are either trade union representatives working in manufacturing plants in Europe that are covered by the EU regulations on European works councils or employees who are members of trade unions affiliated to the International Metalworkers’ Federation, IMF. SKF’s operations in China have grown steadily. The Chinese trade union movement is controlled by the government and does not belong to the IMF. The latest meeting of the global works council in Göteborg in September 2007 was, however, attended by a trade union representative from China who participated as an observer.

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Tools for Global Justice


Foto: Marie Ullnert

Kennet Carlsson, IF Metall’s branch president in Göteborg and chair of the global works council, talking to James Stephens, trade union representative at SKF in the USA, during a break in the works council meeting in 2007.

Kennet Carlsson’s account Kennet Carlsson is IF Metall’s branch president in Göteborg and chairs the global works council. He believes that it is not only the structure of the trade unions but also technological developments that have helped to cement the links between trade union representatives. “The Internet in particular makes it easier to stay in contact. We have also done a great deal to raise the level of the participants’ proficiency in English. And SKF has helped us to succeed. The company not only pays for all the meetings, all the delegates also have access to an online SKF computer and English lessons.” Each meeting of the global works council lasts for three days. Kennet Carlsson says that some items recur on the agenda like reports from different countries about what is happening in the factories and the activities of the trade unions. One day is devoted to discussions with the group’s executive team which presents a report. Another standing item is a report from the IMF. “Each meeting also has a special theme. At the most recent meeting we discussed trade union organisations and union density at SKF’s plants. Our aim is to find a tool to raise the number of members even more.” Kennet Carlsson is convinced that the structure of the unions in the group has helped to strengthen the trade unions. “Union density at SKF’s factories is manifestly higher than in other similar industries in the countries involved. The global contacts add a new dimension to trade union activities. They also make the unions more attractive.”

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Kennet Carlsson can offer numerous examples of how union cooperation in the group has added to trade union influence. He points in particular to SKF’s code of conduct and the international framework agreement that the company has signed with the global works council. “But we have also proposed alternative production when the company has wanted to move manufacturing. Like now when operations are being shifted from Göteborg to Malaysia without any serious consequences for the employees in Göteborg and with increased investments in machine capacity. It is clear that the company respects the commitment of the unions. We make constructive suggestions.” Kennet Carlsson plays a central role in the work of the trade unions in the group. He not only chairs the global works council but is also one of the trade union representatives on the company’s board. Trade union representatives in other countries often contact him when they want support in resolving local problems and disputes. “That means quite a lot of travelling, sometimes in the role of arbitrator and advisor. But I am very careful not to interfere in the local bargaining process. It’s not my job to take it over and I’m not allowed to either. On the other hand I can always offer advice and recommendations.” Kennet Carlsson has also been asked to advise branches in Sweden that are trying to develop their trade union contacts within the group. He usually points out that the global works council offers new possibilities but the process is time-consuming. “You have to meet the trade union representatives at every plant. That takes a lot of time and energy. Chairing the global works council is very different from being a local branch president in Sweden. It needs respect for other cultures and other ways of viewing trade union activities. At the same time you have to establish a long-term relationship with the company globally. Because if the other side does not see the value of listening to trade union opinion in the group, then however good your intentions may be they just don’t matter,” says Kennet Carlsson. Foto: Marie Ullnert

Lyubov Matora, branch president at SKF in Lutsk, discussing wages with the British trade union representatives Michael Greogory, who works at SKF in Cleveton and Jawsinder Singh from SKF Luton when they met at the global works council meeting in 2007.

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Photo: Denny Lorentzen

Global meeting in Volvo has strengthened trade union membership Every other year trade union representatives in Volvo AB meet for a global meeting. About 45 delegates usually participate. The meeting is actually an extended EWC meeting, in other words it consists of the European works council with representatives from the rest of the world. The delegates come from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, the USA and elsewhere. The number of delegates each plant is allowed to send is based on the number of employees. Volvo AB pays the costs involved. The trade unions are, in fact, allowed to send more representatives but then they have to bear the costs themselves. Several important countries have long been missing from Volvo’s global meetings. So far there has been nobody to represent the factory in the Indian city of Bangalore. But new contacts have now been established and it will be represented at the next meeting. “China is more of a problem. There are no trade unions there that belong to our international federation, the IMF. We have talked about how to deal with the official Chinese trade union, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, ACFTU. “Our feeling is that it is better to have contacts with the ACFTU than none at all. My hope is that Chinese representatives will take part in the next global meeting,” says Olle Ludvigsson, IF Metall’s branch president at Volvo AB. The global meetings last three days. The main item on the agenda consists of information and discussion about what is happening in the company. Part of each meeting is also attended by representatives of the executive team and then participants are able to ask questions. The working language is English and there has been a delibe-

Perhaps S.V.Raija, vice-president of the union branch at Volvo in Bangalore, will be the first representative from India at Volvo’s next global trade union meeting.

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Olle Ludvigsson, former IF Metall’s branch president at Volvo Trucks Sweden.

rate decision not to use simultaneous interpretation but to try to train the delegates to speak English instead. “The conversations around the dinner table and in the evenings are just as important as the meeting itself, but then we have to be able to talk to each other.” Above all, the global meetings enable the exchange of experiences and information. So far they have not been used to develop joint trade union strategies for the entire group. But they have helped to structure trade union activities in the group. “All the branches in the company have been given lists of the other trade union representatives. Getting to know each other has made it easier to keep in touch. Today there is a constant flow of e-mail between the branches. Several delegations from other branches have made study visits to the head office. But the branch in Göteborg has also been strengthened by the cooperation. We know a lot more and that improves the tools we can use to exert influence. Several years ago the executive were trying to play one unit off against another. They threatened to relocate operations if we did not toe the line. But our close contacts with the other branches meant that we knew what they were being told by the executive. That added to our strength,” says Olle Ludvigsson. One difficulty that has arisen in trade union activities in other companies is that branches have not been able to agree on a joint policy towards cut-backs, for instance. But Olle Ludvigsson does not feel that there has been this type of problem in Volvo, perhaps mainly because they have been spared negative decisions. The company has been doing well and cuts have so far been unusual. He also describes discussions between the branches in connection with major decisions such as Volvo’s purchase of Renault. “These were frank and straightforward and strengthened cooperation between the unions.” The next global meeting will take place in October 2008. One of the items to be discussed involves conditions for employees in the manpower agencies used by Volvo. The aim is to determine what their terms of employment are like in the different countries in which Volvo operates.

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International Framework Agreement What we mean by an international framework agreement is an agreement that has been reached between a company and a global trade union organisation. This agreement has to contain rules about the company’s treatment of its employees and about the ways in which these rules will be put into practice and monitored.

International Framework Agreement, IFA Global Framework Agreement The aim is to improve conditions for employees in the group and its suppliers and at the same time improve union density and develop an international network of trade union contacts. An International Framework Agreement, IFA, can offer a good way of establishing two-way relationships in workplaces where they do not function at the moment. Cooperation in putting an international framework agreement into practice and monitoring its effects can help to create trust between the partners and this benefits both the employees and the development of the company. If companies are genuinely serious about their commitment to human rights, an international framework agreement is preferable to a unilaterally adopted code of conduct. The employees know better than anyone whether rules are being broken or not, and cooperation with the employees’ organisations makes it possible to deal with infringements rapidly. In many parts of the world there is deep mistrust between companies and trade union organisations. Local trade unionists will have a great deal more confidence in a company that has signed an IFA and it will therefore find it considerably easier to establish constructive cooperation. Photo: Marie Ullnert

Stefan Löfven, IF Metall’s President.

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The route to an agreement

All companies are unique and it is difficult to offer any general rules about how an international framework agreement can be arranged. It is difficult for a branch in Sweden to raise the question of an agreement in a group that is controlled from abroad. The idea can, of course, be raised during contacts with other trade union organisations in the group. Naturally, the best thing to do would be to influence the trade union in the country where the group is registered to initiate discussions. Groups and companies with their head offices in Sweden are the primary target for IF Metall’s work with international framework agreements.

Step 1 – What do we want to get out of the agreement? • Why do we in our branch and the trade union in the group in Sweden want to set up an agreement? • What are our motives and what are we aiming for? These are the first and most important questions a branch should be asking itself. If there are no definite answers, the branch should get more information and continue its discussions ess. before starting the process.

Step 2 – What are the circumstances like? • What possibilities are there in the company? • What countries is the company operating in? • What is the trade union structure in the group? • Are there trade unions everywhere? • What contacts do we have with the foreign trade unions today? • How can we develop contacts of this kind? • What suppliers does the company use? • Which partners are most suitable to collaborate with and what do we know about their conditions? Map out the group and the trade union organisations. Make lists of the plants, contact persons and trade unions. • Is there a European works council? • Who are the representatives and are they members of trade unions? • Could the European works council be a good forum for initiating discussions? Even if the European works council may be a good platform to start from, it is very important for the issue of an international framework agreement to be raised and dealt with by the

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trade unions. They are going to uphold the agreement – not the European works council. • What does the company’s policy look like? • Does the company have a code of conduct or any other guidelines on its social commitment? If the company does not have a code of conduct but is considering adopting one, this can be a good time to raise the question. Why not sign an agreement instead of adopting a unilateral code? If the company has a code of conduct or something similar, work out the answers to the following questions: • What does it contain? • Does it refer to the ILO core conventions, the OECD guidelines or any other international agreements? • Are there rules about how it will be implemented or monitored? • Are there rules about how complaints are to be dealt with? • How are the employees given any insight into the process?

Step 3 – Make contacts and set up a network Contact the trade union and the global federations. Members of IF Metall are also affiliated to three global trade union federations: the International Metalworkers’ Federation, IMF, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions, ICEM, and the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation, ITGLWF. And of course IF Metall will help branches to make contacts with the three federations and with trade union organisations in other countries, if they exist.

Step 4 – Initiate contacts with the company Approach the company. • Is the company interested in these questions? • Is there any chance of going any further? ance of ha aving an agreav Present the arguments in favour of an agreement. Explain the importance having ement that the trade unions and the company share the responsibility for.

Step 5 – Outline the content – rules, implementation and monitoring All international framework agreements, or global agreements as they are sometimes called, look different. The recommendations and model agreements from the three international federations to which IF Metall is affiliated also vary to some extent. This is because companies look different and there are also differences in the structure of the sectors. An agreement should, however, include some specific points. IF Metall’s proposed model agreement, which is included as an appendix in this publication, may offer a good starting point for discussion. The different elements of the model agreement are presented below. The model agreement is also available in Swedish.

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IF Metall’s proposed model agreement Preamble Begin by describing the reasons for drawing up the agreement. This can include the new circumstances that the company is facing, globalisation, the company’s international development, new markets, free trade, decent working conditions for all employees and so on.

Objective Describe what the agreement is intended to achieve. This includes the company’s responsibilities to its employees and for their working conditions. The agreement is one way of demonstrating the company’s commitment to social issues and can offer the company a competitive advantage when more and more consumers are demanding products that have been manufactured under acceptable conditions. The agreement should emphasise that the signatories endorse the United Nations’ declaration on the basic principles of the right to work. It should also include references to the OECD guidelines for multinational companies. Other international agreements that the company has signed or adopted, such as SA 8000, the Global Compact, the BSCI or its own code of conduct, should also be mentioned.

Scope It is important for the agreement to cover the company’s subcontractors. It should not be possible for a company to run outsourced operations on conditions that differ completely from those that apply to the rest of its operations. As this is a framework agreement it must be made clear that its contents stipulate a minimum standard. The aim is to sign local agreements at each of the company’s units.

Respect for freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining The section of the agreement that lays down different rules begins by affirming the right to form and join trade unions and to collective bargaining. Two of the ILO core conventions (87 and 98) offer, together with convention 135, safeguards against the discrimination of trade union representatives. The model agreement also invokes ILO’s recommendation 143 which, among other things, deals with the right of access of trade union representatives to all workplaces. (An ILO recommendation does not have the same status as a convention and is not ratified by individual states.) Under this heading the model agreement also invokes ILO convention 154: companies are to promote and facilitate trade union organisation and collective bargaining even in places where these rights are restricted by legislation. The model agreement also requires the company not to employ strikebreakers to take the place of the workers involved in a dispute. A transnational global works council can offer benefits both to the company and the trade unions. It is possible to allow the global works council to take over the functions that an EWC may have today. SKF is one example of this. However the establishment of this kind of global works council requires a separate agreement. If it is considered that a global works council would require too many resources, one alternative is for the company to set up different regional councils for the employees. The most important thing is to establish an international trade union network in the group.

Employees must choose to work of their own free will The ILO core conventions 29 and 105 denounce forced labour and slave labour. The model agreement adds that the employer may not require an employee to surrender an ID-document or be forced to deposit anything else. This must, of course, apply to any manpower agencies the company uses.

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Prohibition of child labour

Photo: ILO

Child labour is forbidden by the ILO core conventions 138 and 182. Convention 138 lays down that the minimum age of entry into the labour market must not be lower than the age at which compulsory schooling is completed, and in no case lower than 15. Convention 182 prohibits the worst forms of child labour such as debt bondage, hazardous industrial labour, sex slavery or child soldiers. This convention applies to all those under the age of 18. The model agreement contains a requirement for the company to provide financial aid for the education of former child workers. In addition a child found working for the company or a subcontractor must, if possible, be replaced by another member of her or his family so that the family income can be maintained.

UNICEF estimates that there are around 250 million children aged between 5 and 15 who are working.

No discrimination or threats allowed ILO convention 111 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic extraction, culture, citizenship, religion or any other distinguishing feature not only when workers are employed but also when carrying on their trades or undergoing vocational training. ILO convention 100 stipulates that men and women are to be paid equal wages for work of equal value. Guest workers who have moved from their homes solely in order to find work generally have a weak position and risk exploitation, irrespective of whether they have travelled abroad or in their own country. ILO conventions 97 and 143 protect migrant workers from discrimination and ensure that their rights are respected.

Decent wages, working hours and working conditions A framework agreement must mention pay and what is usually called a living wage. The concept of a living wage is of course a relative one, but what it means is that earnings should be enough to provide the most basic needs a family can have: a decent place to live, the possibility of eating enough nourishing food, clothes, the cost of childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education, health care and hygiene and, hopefully, some occasional family treat. In some developing countries the minimum wage laid down by the governments is often not enough to meet even the most basic needs. It is frequently so low that nobody can live on it. It can be difficult to agree on what constitutes a living wage. Then it is a good idea to look at what costs are like in a country and what is needed to cover basic needs. Looking at the wages

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Photo: Milan Bogicevic

paid for equivalent jobs in the same sector (for instance the industrial norm) can also help. Sometimes this is a good indicator, but there are countries and areas where it is far from adequate and in practice considerably lower than the minimum wage.

The living wage paid to Sophea as a textile worker in Cambodia does not go far enough. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why she shares a home of 35 square metres with nine other people. ILO convention 1 stipulates an eight-hour working day. In addition it contains rules about how much overtime an employer can demand. Together with the demand for at least 24 continuous hours of rest every week, as stipulated in ILO convention 14, this means that the model agreement allows in principle a 48-hour working week plus overtime. ILO convention 47 stipulates a 40-hour working week. The reason for not including this in the model agreement is that the route to a 40-hour working week is still long and tortuous in many parts of the world. If conventions 1 and 14 are complied with, a great deal has been gained. But if circumstances allow the use of convention 47 instead of convention 1 in the agreement, then obviously this should be done. ILO convention 155 concerns health and safety in the workplace. Often health and safety issues are the ones on which it is easiest to begin a dialogue with the company. In the model agreement we also demand the application of best practice concerning health and safety in every work place subject to its conditions. The model agreement also includes ILO convention 183, which requires special care about the health and safety conditions for women who are pregnant and for mothers.

Implementation and follow-up An international agreement that employees know nothing about is worth no more than the paper it is written on. Every employee must be given both oral and written information about the contents of the agreement. This has to be offered in a language the individual workers

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understand. This training and information process must be completed within six months of the signing of the agreement. After that date information must be provided for all new employees. The employer and the trade union organisations have to undertake this work together at the employer’s expense. Suppliers and others affected by the agreement must guarantee their support and cooperation in implementing and monitoring the agreement. If a subcontractor fails to live up to these promises, the company must be able to demand immediate measures and ultimately to cancel a commercial agreement. One of the aims of an international framework agreement is to make interaction between the employer and the employees easier at a local level. A system has to be introduced to ensure compliance with the agreement and to enable follow-up. The model agreement proposes local cooperation committees at each workplace consisting of representatives of the employer and the trade unions to which complaints can be submitted. And under no circumstances can anyone who complains about the failure of the company to live up to its commitments in the agreement be punished for doing so.

Photo: Jörgen Näsström

The women at Vateks in Turkey belong to the official textile sector which employs 600,000 people. The informal sector is estimated to employ 2.5 million textile workers. As they do not exist officially they have no official rights.

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In a country where the company has several workplaces the establishment of a national committee can be considered. This can deal with issues that cannot be decided locally, because of disagreement or the lack of local trade union organisation. If there is still disagreement, the issue has to be taken further to group level, where yet another committee has been established by the signatories to the agreement. This committee also has the task of evaluating how the agreement has been implemented and is complied with. A report has to be written each year and submitted either to the global council, if one has been established, or the signatories to the agreement for their inspection. At every level the trade unions and the employer should have equal numbers of representatives. If deadlock is reached at the highest level, arbitration by the ILO or some other neutral body agreed by both parties will be required. Everyone who has undertaken to comply with the agreement has also accepted the possibility of inspections by the group executive, the trade unions or someone else acting on their behalf. The model agreement requires review every three years. Here the framework agreements that already exist differ a little. Some framework agreements require review each year while others permit longer intervals. The important thing is that review takes place within a certain time frame that is not too far ahead. The model agreement stipulates that it can be cancelled at three months notice. Cancelling the agreement is the ultimate weapon. No other course of action is open to the trade unions. In terminating an agreement the trade unions show that they no longer have any confidence in the way in which the company works with social issues. It may be wondered why a period of notice of three months is necessary when the company has probably already been given plenty of time to deal with breaches of the agreement. During the period of notice it can go on saying that it has an agreement even though it is obviously breaking it. But giving notice may, however, be what makes the company adopt the measures demanded by the trade unions to avoid the shame of losing the legitimacy in social areas that an international framework agreement can offer.

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Step 6 – Involve other trade unions and global federations in the process It is impossible to meet every local demand in an international framework agreement. Nor are they intended to go into great detail. Instead a framework agreement should be able to offer a point of departure for local or national collective agreements. It is, however, important for all the trade union organisations in the company to feel that they are taking part in the process. It is also important to remember that it is the international trade union organisation that will sign the agreement and therefore has to be involved in the process. A national trade union cannot sign an agreement that is binding on trade union organisations in other countries. The international federations have expertise and experience from other international agreements that can prove to be very useful. Make sure that a negotiation delegation with as powerful a mandate as possible is appointed to ensure support for the agreement from the trade union organisations.

Step 7 – Negotiate and come to an agreement S E Easy as falling off a log ...! No, of course not. All agreements, even our national and local agreements, involve communication and dialogue. Sometimes they can be reached quickly, sometimes more time is needed. The same things apply to international framework agreements – communication and dialogue – but in totally different circumstances. Different languages, different cultures but the same aim – creating decent working conditions for everyone.

In 2008 there were about 60 international framework agreements. The vast majority have been signed with European companies, of which six are Swedish: Ikea, Skanska, SKF, H&M, SCA and Securitas. In IF Metall’s agreement sector so far only SKF has signed an international framework agreement.

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Links to organisations mentioned in this publication www.bsci-eu.org/content.php Business Social Compliance Initiative, BSCI www.icem.org International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions, ICEM www.ifmetall.se IF Metall – Industrifacket Metall www.ilo.org International Labour Organization, ILO www.imfmetal.org International Metalworkers’ Federation, IMF www.itglwf.org International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation, ITGLWF www.oecd.org Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD You can find more information on the OECD guidelines in Swedish on: www.regeringen.se/sb/d/5467/a/14556 this also contains a link to a manual in PDF-format: www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/06/84/99/a89a1f94.pdf www.regeringen.se/sb/d/2657/a/14557 Global Responsibility www.sa-intl.org/ Social Accountability International, SAI www.un.org United Nations, UN www.unglobalcompact.org/ Global Compact

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Other useful links www.brysselkontoret.com The Brussels office of the three Swedish federations LO/TCO/Saco www.emcef.org European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers Federation, EMCEF www.emf-fem.org European Metalworkers’ Federation, EMF www.etuc.org European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC www.etuf-tcl.org European Trade Union Federation of Textiles, Clothing and Leather, ETUF-TCL www.globalrespekt.nu Global Respect www.global-unions.org Global Unions – a joint portal for ITUC and the global unions www.gmworkersblog.com Blog for General Motors employees www.ituc-csi.org International Trade Union Confederation, ITUC www.labourstart.org Labour Start – a portal for global trade union news www.nordic-in.org Nordic IN – a federation of unions of industrial workers in the Nordic countries www.renaklader.org Rena Kläder www.wto.org World Trade Organization

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Appendix

IF Metall’s model for an international framework agreement 1. Preamble The impact of the global economy comes with lowered barriers when trading in goods and services, and where more countries and companies are becoming increasingly dependant on each other. Globalisation poses new demands on companies and employees in order to compete on the market. Globalisation also sets stricter requirements for companies to protect the environment and to offer decent pay and working conditions for their workers.

2. Objective This is an agreement between the company [company’s name] and IMF/ICEM/ITGLWF with the purpose of formalising (to be stressed) the company’s commitment to human rights and social accountability in relation to their workers, customers, and suppliers. The undersigned partners acknowledge the UN Declaration on Human Rights and freedom, the UN Declaration on the basic principles of the right to work and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

3. Scope [Company] demands that its workers, subcontractors, main suppliers, licensees and franchisers work according to, and respect the norms laid out in this agreement when they manufacture or distribute goods or components for [company]. [Company] is to establish whether the content of this agreement is to be met, before putting in purchase orders to its main suppliers, involving workers and subcontractors, or authorising licences. [Company] is to exert its influence on its contractors (any natural or legal person who is contracted to perform work or provide services) to sign their own similar agreements with their respective counterparts. The content of this agreement is to be seen as a minimum standard for the [company] activities and their workers around the world. The aim is that local agreements, based on this agreement, will be agreed on with all units of the company and their workers.

4. Basic rights 4 a. The freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining is to be respected All workers have the right to form and join trade unions, and they also have the right to collective bargaining. The worker representatives are not to be discriminated against, and they are to have access as necessary to all work-sites in order to be able to fulfil their duties. (ILO conventions 87, 98 and 135, also ILO recommendation 143) In situations where the above-mentioned rights are restricted by legislation, [company] is to ensure that worker’s rights are protected, and is to facilitate the creation of bona fide organisations and the implementation of collective bargaining. (ILO convention 154). During open conflicts between workers and management, [company] is not to take on new workers in order to replace those workers that are participating in the conflict. A Global Council for worker representatives is to be established for the exchange of information and experience. This Council is also to act as a forum for information and consultation between the management and the worker representatives.

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4 b. Workers to be able to enter into employment voluntarily [Company] condemns all forms of forced labour, slavery or involuntary prison work and will undertake to adhere to this. (ILO conventions 29 and 105) Not least, workers must not be forced to give deposits of money, or leave their identity papers with the employer. This is also valid concerning companies that supply, or make workers available to [company]. 4 c. Child labour must not exist No child labour is to exist. The regulations stated in ILO convention 138 or in national legislation concerning the minimum age for employment, whichever is deemed strongest, are to be complied with. The regulations set out in the ILO convention 182 which prohibit the worst forms of child labour are to be followed. [Company] is to give financial support in order to guarantee that former child workers are given the chance to receive education. If [company] or its subcontractors have employed child workers, where possible, these child workers are to be replaced by a family member so that the family can maintain their income. 4 d. There is to be no discrimination or threats as regards to hiring or working Gender equality and equal treatment is to be observed irrespective of the applicants or workers gender, race, sexual orientation, culture, national origin, religion or other segregating factors. (ILO convention 111) [Company] is to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for work of equal value. (ILO convention 100) [Company] is to ensure that there is no discrimination against migrant workers (= nationals or foreign workforce) and that their rights are to be respected. (ILO conventions 97 and 143) Corporal punishment or threatening corporal punishment is not to occur. 4 e. Pay, working time and working conditions must be decent [Company] commits itself to pay wages that, at the very least, are not less than the lowest legal or agreed minimum level of that sector. It should always be large enough to provide basic needs for the workers and their families and should also include a freely disposable income. Working time, including overtime, is to be regulated in order to ensure that working time does not exceed what is considered healthy. The basic working time must not exceed eight hours per day. (ILO convention 1) The worker has, at the very minimum, the right to a 24-hour consecutive rest period during each seven-day period. (ILO convention 14) [Company] is to guarantee a safe and healthy working environment. (ILO convention 155) The best available health and safety practice is to be used, reflecting the generally available knowledge within the sector, as well as the specific health risks. Special consideration is to be given to pregnant women and mothers in accordance with ILO convention 183.

Implementation, enforcement and follow-up [Company], together with the trade union organisation, are to give the workers oral and written information and training concerning all the clauses in this agreement in a language that can be understood. This is to be completed within six months from the signing of the agreement, and [company] is to bear all costs concerned with giving this information and training. The agreement is also to be made available in a written form to all workers. Suppliers and others that, according to the definitions set out above that are to be encompassed by the agreement, are to give guarantees that they support the content and will cooperate concerning implementation and follow-up of the agreement. Should a subcontractor not fulfil what has been promised, [company] is to demand immediate measures to be taken, or be free to

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cancel an agreed contract. The local parties are to agree on forms of cooperation, e.g. committees to which workers can turn to with complaints concerning any non-compliance of the agreement. Complaints to the relevant body concerning the company not living up to their end of the agreement must not, under any circumstances, lead to retaliations or sanctions being taken against the complainant. A national follow-up committee may be established in every country where [company] runs a business in order to deal with matters that cannot be solved locally, either due to differences of opinion, or due to the non-existence of a local trade union. [Company] is to establish a global committee at the conglomerate level consisting of the undersigned partners. This committee is to deal with matters that cannot be solved locally, as well as annually evaluating the application and adherence to the agreement. The committee is also to present a report annually for scrutiny by the Global Council. If the parties should fail to agree at the global level concerning adherence to the agreement, mediation is to be undertaken by ILO, or by any other neutral body that both parties agree upon. At all levels, the number of representatives for the workers and for the management is to be equal. All those parties that have committed themselves to following the agreement, thereby also agree to accept both planned and unannounced inspections (workplace visits) by the management, IMF/ICEM/ITGLWF, or any other body acting on their behalf. This agreement is to be revised every third year after being signed. This is a permanent agreement but may be subject to three months notice by either party.

Venue/date

Venue/date

Name/signature (company)

Name/signature (international federation)

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Notes

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Notes

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Notes

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INâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;108/ 20090427/Sandvikens tryckeri AB/1 500 ex

Olof Palmes Gata 11 105 52 Stockholm 08-786 80 00 www.ifmetall.se

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Tools for global justice