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Global Issues Business and Human Rights

UNI Global Union is committed to strengthening and expanding the tools holding companies accountable to their human rights obligations. Workers deserve enforceable rules to protect their rights, not merely vague CSR commitments, and that is why UNI is building a global architecture of rules fit for this purpose.

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We are a leader in the global push to turn the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights into a reality for working people, especially the fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. 

We are advocates for strengthening the OECD Guidelines for Multinationals, and we have successfully brought multiple cases relating to due diligence, the right to organize and workplace safety.

We are a powerful voice supporting mandatory human rights due diligence laws, already in effect in some countries and under consideration elsewhere. At the same time, the global agreements we negotiate with employers embed due diligence practices with a meaningful role for unions throughout their operations—even where there are little-to-no legal protections for workers in place.

To ensure that these agreements, laws and guidelines are respected in the workplace, UNI is building trade union representatives’ capacity to become part of the due diligence process.  And UNI’s sectors are developing industry-specific due diligence protocols and recommendations.  

We are also working to make these global rules must enforceable and binding.  As part of its leadership role in the Bangladesh Accord, UNI enforced the agreement through arbitration, resulting in millions of dollars in settlements put towards factory improvements. Our success inspired UNI, along with IndustriALL, to develop a new arbitration system, Rules for International Labour Arbitration and Conciliation, to adjudicate labour cases beyond the Accord.

And finally, we work with investors to address the human rights practices among the companies they own. Whether union busting by Amazon, investments in companies tied to the Myanmar military, or setting new expectations for nursing home operators, UNI engages with investors about fulfilling their responsibilities to workers everywhere.