Global Unions: Shareholder rebuke of Fresenius Medical Care shows need for proper due diligence
Frankfort, 17 May 2019—After Fresenius Medical Care received a strong wake-up call at yesterday’s shareholder meeting, a global coalition of trade unions is calling for its parent company, Fresenius Group, to strengthen due diligence for all aspects of its operations.
“Lax controls and poor oversight do not stop at Fresenius Medical Care,” said David Boys, Deputy General Secretary of Public Services International. “Frontline employees describe a broken labour relations culture in several of the company’s divisions in various regions”.
Hosted by ver.di, Global Unions are in Frankfurt, Germany, this week to launch the Fresenius Global Union Alliance, the first international union network for a multinational healthcare corporation.
“Our message to Fresenius is clear: the entire company needs a strong due diligence plan,” said Alke Boessiger, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union. “Fresenius must guarantee respect for labour rights throughout its operations. A Global Agreement is a proven due diligence instrument.”
More than 50 workers and union representatives from Europe, North and South America and Asia have converged in Frankfurt/Main, Germany – in parallel with Fresenius’ annual general shareholder meeting to launch the alliance.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary, commented: “This international trade union group offers Fresenius the opportunity to build positive industrial relations at its operations around the world. We hope that the company will now work with us to build a robust mechanism for our international relationship.”
Global framework agreements are negotiated between global unions and multinational companies. They protect the interests of workers across the operations of multinational companies, ensuring respect for international labour standards. They are an important due diligence tool for multinational companies.