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Annex 1 to 42 C-14/RTSC/Key Developments EB/Oct 09/10(d)

EXECUTIVE BOARD OF THE ITF London, 22-23 October 2009 Item 10 (d) of the Agenda:


The Executive Board (October 2007) instructed the General Secretary to set up a working group to propose guidelines for the signing of global framework agreements (GFAs). The members of the working group include Oystein Aslaksen (Norsk Lokomotivmannsforbund), Tim Beaty (IBT), Owen Herrnstadt (IAMAW), Peter Lovkvist (Swedish Transport workers), Martin Mayer (TGWU) and Rod Pickette (MUA). The group worked by email and conference call to develop the guidelines. The working group believes that the following points should be noted by the executive board in considering the draft guidelines: • A GFA is just one tool in developing an effective strategy for dealing with and organising in multinational companies. GFAs should be set within a wider strategy for strengthening unions in global transport companies. These guidelines do not provide that strategy but confine themselves to setting a basic standard required for an effective GFA. • In many cases the ITF strategy should involve looking at all the main companies operating in a specific market, aiming to sign GFAs with each of them. • There should be an awareness that only a narrow range of companies is likely to sign a high standard GFA. The ITF should aim for a smaller number of high quality GFAs rather than a large number of weak or meaningless GFAs. • The ITF will need to allocate sufficient human and financial resources to monitor and implement GFAs effectively. • The ITF should establish an expert group to monitor the application of the standards set in these guidelines, and to provide advice for the general secretary prior to the signing of any GFAs. The group would also review the processes and strategies in the ITF for signing and implementing GFAs.

RECOMMENDATION 2. The EB is invited to comment on and approve the attached GFA guidelines and to consider the proposal to set up an advisory group.


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A global framework agreement (GFA) is an agreement at the global level between the trade unions and their global union federation, representing workers across the worldwide operations of a global company, and the management of the company.


By signing such an agreement the company will be recognising that the well being and rights of employees are vital to its success. A GFA will also bring benefits to the company’s reputation from engaging in a credible process of high and effectively monitored standards of corporate social responsibility. The company will be accepting the important role that unions play in representing employees’ interests and recognising the ITF as its global partner.


The purpose of the GFA is to produce and implement a global framework of rights and standards across the company’s worldwide operations.

The scope 4.

The agreement will cover all the company’s operations and those of its subsidiaries. It should also include the full “chain of responsibility” of the company, including contractors and subcontractors who are undertaking work necessary to the company’s operations. This should also include operators and “self-employed” workers such as owner drivers who are in reality tied to the operations of the main company.

The process 5.

The process of reaching a global framework agreement must involve: • Coordination and consultation among the unions representing workers in the company’s worldwide operations through a global union network. This network should represent as many of the workers in the company’s operations as possible, with a reasonable geographic and operational spread in the company. The network should have a link to the relevant ITF industry section(s). • Representatives assigned by the network to negotiate and sign a GFA on its behalf. Usually the home base union should play an important role. The ITF secretariat should play a coordinating role in any negotiations for a GFA and more widely for the network. • The approval of the ITF General Secretary or someone appointed to represent him, through a signature.


All GFAs will be expected to meet with the general standard set out in these guidelines in order to receive the signature of the ITF General Secretary.


The ITF will set up a GFA group to advise and assist the General Secretary on issues relating to GFAs including content and implementation.


Annex 1 to 42 C-14/RTSC/Key Developments EB/Oct 09/10(d)


Where companies cut across industry sectors it may be appropriate to co-sign a GFA with one or more other global union federations.

The content A framework of employee rights 9.

The company shall recognise its obligation to ensure that all employees are able enjoy those fundamental rights which are set out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, ILO Conventions and accompanying jurisprudence (see annex 1) and the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These include: • Freedom of association and the right of employees to join the trade union of their choice (ILO C 87). • The right to exercise collective bargaining (ILO C98, C135). • ILO Conventions on forced labour (ILO C29, C105) and child labour (ILO 138, C182).


There must be no discrimination based on gender, age, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, disability or precariousness of employment (partly covered by ILO C100 and C111).


The company will agree to adhere to the rights and labour relations processes outlined in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises including the commitment to engage in constructive negotiations with trade unions.


These ILO Conventions provide minimum standards. The company will be expected to apply standards which are superior to these. Nor will anything in this agreement in any way reduce or undermine existing labour relations practices or agreements already established by any union within the company, when these practices or agreements exceed these standards. Any international shipping operations (if any) undertaken by the company will adhere to the standards set in the appropriate ITF international agreements.

Union rights and recognition 13.

In order that employees can exercise these rights in practice the company will: • Guarantee that trade unions are free to organise employees without obstruction or interference from the company management. The company management will take a neutral stance in the face of union organising activities and ensure a clear statement is made in writing by local and senior management that workers are free to meet the union’s representative(s), attend meetings and freely determine their own choice of whether to join a union without fear of any recrimination or victimisation. • Ensure that rights of reasonable access are provided to the workforce during union organising activities, including access to the employers’ property and information on employees, including employees’ names, addresses and job classification. The company will permit the distribution of legitimate union literature and will allow union access to all new employees during the time of their induction to the company.


Annex 1 to 42 C-14/RTSC/Key Developments EB/Oct 09/10(d)

• • •

Commit itself not to refuse or obstruct any legitimate claim for union recognition, and will follow, in agreement with the union, the most expeditious process in the event that ITF affiliates request union recognition. Take a positive approach to trade unionism and will upon request issue a statement to assure workers they are free to join a trade union. Provide appropriate facilities for unions and union representatives. Not use replacement workers in the event of an industrial dispute or otherwise violate international standards concerning any aspect of the collective bargaining process.

Standards and social protections 14.

The company will recognise its obligation to provide a healthy and safe work environment and decent standards for hours and pay. Where national laws do not meet international labour standards, as defined in this document, international labour standards will prevail, in all aspects of the employment relationship, including social protections, minimum wages, hours of work limitations, health and safety standards etc required by national law. Whenever ILO Conventions or the standards set in this GFA are superior these must be applied.


When the company employs workers (e.g. truck driver, train drivers) whose work involves crossing international borders, differences in national wages, employment conditions or social protections should not be used as a form of social dumping.

Implementation and monitoring 16.

Implementation and monitoring must involve the following: •

There will be meetings between the senior management and representatives of the ITF/global union network at least once a year to review the implementation of the agreement. There will be ongoing communication between the two parties between these meetings. There must be an effective and clearly defined evaluation, and monitoring process able to operate in a timely fashion. This should include an agreed mechanism for on-site visits of a group of union representatives and others knowledgeable about the implementation of international labour standards which will be able to gather facts on matters relating to the implementation and operation of this agreement. The company will set up an adequate fund to resource this programme. There will be a complaints procedure to deal with alleged breaches of the GFA, which could not be resolved locally, with an agreed mechanism for investigation of the complaint. The costs of the implementation of this procedure will be borne by the company. A dispute resolution process culminating in binding arbitration must be adopted and available for any disputes arising from this GFA. The company will set up an adequate fund to resource this process. Within 30 days after the agreement has been signed the company will translate and disseminate the text of the agreement to make it available to all


Annex 1 to 42 C-14/RTSC/Key Developments EB/Oct 09/10(d)


workers included within its scope. The company will have a process and mechanisms, including materials in appropriate languages, for periodically informing, updating and educating employees and managers about the provisions of the GFA. All contractors within the scope of the GFA will be made aware of their obligations under its provisions. There should be periodic meetings between senior company representatives and the global union network for the company.


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Annex 1a of the GFA guidelines 1.

Any global framework agreement signed by the ITF should at a minimum guarantee the rights and standards set in the main ILO Conventions: • Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948 (Convention no 87). • Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (Convention no 98). • Workers’ Representatives Convention 1971 (Convention no 135). • Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (Convention no 29). • Abolition of Forced labour Convention, 1957 (Convention no 105). • Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (Convention no 138). • Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (Convention no. 182). • Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (Convention no. 100). • Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention 1958 (Convention no 111).


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Road Transport Workers: Global Framework Agreements