TRADE UNION CASES
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 07/01/2012
Date Closed 18/12/2014
Case Duration 153 weeks and 5 days
Host Country India (OECD Enhanced Engagement)
Sector Building and Construction
Issue(s) Precarious work; reprisal against workers for fighting for their rights; harrassment of trade unionists; right to join a trade union; right to collective bargaining.
Provisions Cited II.A.1 II.A.2 II.A.9 IV.1 IV.2 V.1-b V.1-d V.1-e V.3 V.5
Case Description In January 2012, the trade union Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh (PCSS) submitted a case to the Swiss NCP concerning the rights of contract workers at two Indian subsidiaries of the Swiss multinational company Holcim, a leading global supplier of cement. The case was supported by the Global Union Federation, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (now IndustriALL). PCSS contended that contract workers at the factories were in fact in an employment relationship with the companies and that the extensive use of contract workers at the two factories has violated national law, national sectoral agreements and Chapters II, IV and V of the OECD MNE Guidelines.
Developments On July 19, 2012, the Swiss NCP accepted the case. The NCP offered its good offices to facilitate a dialogue between both parties with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable outcome. The NCP proposed the use of a professional external mediator contracted by the NCP. The parties accepted this proposition. The NCP proceeded to organize a meeting in November 2012 which was then postponed due to a lack of agreement over the video-conferencing format. The NCP mandated the mediator to carry out a pre-mediation assessment based on bilateral contacts with the involved parties. The mediator used videoconferencing in order to include representatives of the affected trade union PCSS from India. Based on the pre-mediation, the NCP drafted the Terms of Reference for the first mediation meeting. Both parties agreed in principle in July 2013 on the Terms of Reference, including the date and format of the meeting.
Outcome The parties came to a confidential agreement, which according to the Swiss NCP addresses the issues discussed in the ongoing dialogue at national and plant level in India and confirmed that Holcim supports this local process. Holcim is reported to have committed to ensuring that agreed follow-up measures and deadlines in India will be respected.
The NCP made a commitment to follow-up: it will "ask the parties to report on progress six months after the closure of the specific instance. The NCP expects parties to submit a written report to the NCP, which can be shared with the other party. The NCP will decide upon receipt of these reports about necessary further steps in consultation with the parties".
The Swiss NCP published its Final Report on the 18 December 2014 and closed the case.
Single Government Department
Pragatisheel Cement Shramik Sangh
Regional/state sectoral union
Supporting Complainant ICEM International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions : Global Union Federation
|Did the NCP publish its initial assessment?|
|Did the case involve parallel proceedings?|
|Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case?|
|Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary?|
|Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case?|
|Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case?|
|Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation?|
|Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation?|
|Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation?|
|Was mediation or conciliation held?|
|Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator?|
|Did the parties reach agreement?|
|If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties?|
|If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines?|
|Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding?|
|Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines?|
|Did the NCP publish its final statement or report?|
|Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations?|
|Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report?|
|Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report?|
|Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case?|
|Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance?|
|Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case?|
|Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved?|
|Did the lead NCP play a positive role?|
|If different, did the home NCP play a positive role?|
This was the first trade union case to use the new Human Rights Chapter incorporated into the Guidelines as part of the 2011 update.
[Publication date: 23/12/2011]
'Trade unionists report on violations of domestic and international laws by Swiss Cement MNC Holcim in India'
sheel-cement-shramik-sangh-durg-chhattisgarh/ [Date URL accessed: 29/2/2012]
Swiss NCP [Publication date: 18/12/2014] 'National Contact Point of Switzerland Final Statement Specific Instance regarding ACC Limited and Ambuja Cement Limited (Holcim Group) in India'
swiss_ncp_pcss_industriall_holcim_final.pdf [Date URL accessed: 11/6/2015]