UNI Global Union welcomes many of the recently adopted changes to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, but is disappointed that there were no significant improvements to the procedures for enforcing the guidelines, a critical weakness in the current framework.
The OECD Guidelines have been updated several times since they were first created in 1976, with the last substantial revision taking place in 2011. UNI continues to be one of the most active labour users of the Guidelines, and we have often brought cases to address widespread corporate misconduct.
In its summary of the changes, UNI writes:
“UNI is pleased to see the requirement for due diligence in connection with Technology, something which becomes every more important in this new era. Expanding the scope of the Guidelines to cover all workers, not just those employed by the multinational enterprise, is also a significant change. And clear language on interference with the right to organize is welcomed.
“However, we are disappointed that our recommendations on the procedures were largely ignored or addressed only in very small steps.”
“The OECD’s insistence upon ‘flexibility’ with respect to the procedures of the NCPs presents an opportunity unions and civil society to demand changes at the national level. Rather than abandon the Guidelines, we now have the responsibility to make the ‘best’ even better. National governments should be pushed to implement procedural changes at the national level, to enable final decisions on the merits with a more streamlined mediation and decision-making process, and consequences for failure to comply. If enough NCPs are working to a higher standard, there will be pressure in the next ‘revision’ to lift the bar for everyone.”