Unions protest weaknesses in human rights due diligence plan of Teleperformance, one of France’s biggest global employers, at Annual General Meeting in Paris
Paris, 9 May—Paris-based Teleperformance came under fire at its annual shareholder meeting today for failing to safeguard the human rights of its 300,000 employees in 78 countries, as required by law.
A coalition of French labour unions, including F3C-CFDT, Federation CGT des Societes d'Etudes, FAPT-CGT, FEC-FO and international trade union federation UNI Global Union protested outside of the contact centre giant’s headquarters. The group demanded that the company fully meet the provisions France’s Duty of Vigilance Law.
“Teleperformance operates in some of the most dangerous countries in the world for workers, and we do not believe it has developed an adequate due diligence plan to ensure that workers’ rights are protected,” said Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI Information, Communication, Technology and Services (ICTS). “We have repeatedly raised these issues with the company, and its poor response to the law’s requirements should raise alarms for investors and clients.”
Despite having a low-profile in France, Teleperformance is the world’s largest provider of outsourced contact centres, providing services to some of the biggest and most well-known companies and brands in the world, such as Apple and Orange. In its global workforce, the company has roughly twice the number of direct employees as Société General and three times as many as Michelin.
In April, UNI released an in-depth report detailing serious problems with Teleperformance’s implementation of the French Duty of Vigilance Law.
Shortcomings of TP’s duty of vigilance plan include:
- Weak mapping of risk.
- Lack of concrete actions to guarantee human rights
- No consultation with stakeholders
- No consultation with French trade unions over the alert mechanism (a legal requirement).
These problems are particularly alarming because 68 percent of the company’s 300,000 workforce are in six countries where there is either “no guarantee” or “systematic violations” of labour rights: India (72 594), the Philippines (41 292), the United States (34 228), Mexico (19 338), Brazil (19 259), Colombia (17 871). Less than 1 percent of the company’s global workforce is in France.
“The public expect French companies to fully respect basic human rights, including freedom of association, wherever they operate. French unions belonging to UNI Global Union believe that Teleperformance has not taken the necessary steps to ensure that its local management comply with human rights due diligence norms and strongly encourage the company to agree to negotiate a global agreement guaranteeing the fundamental rights of its workers", declared French unions F3C CFDT, Fédération CGT des Sociétés d'Etudes, FAPT-CGT and FEC-FO.
“We expect French companies to honor basic human rights, such as freedom of association, wherever they operate,” said Isabel Lejeune To, spokesperson for the French unions. “Teleperformance has not taken the necessary steps to ensure that its regional management is adhering to local or international law. We sincerely hope that Teleperformance finally agrees to negotiate a global agreement guaranteeing the fundamental rights of its workers.”
The Duty of Vigilance law requires large French corporations to ensure that human rights are respected. But Teleperformance’s duty of vigilance plan is seriously flawed, and its failings raise doubts about the company’s knowledge of human rights challenges throughout its global operations. This creates legal, operational, and reputational risks for shareholders and potentially the company itself.
UNI Global Union is an international trade union federation representing more than 20 million workers in the services sector of the economy in 150 countries around the world. UNI ICTS represents more than 3 million workers in the technology and communications sectors. UNI ICTS is coordinating a global effort of Teleperformance unions to make the company a more responsible, sustainable corporation.