TRADE UNION CASES
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 06/11/2014
Date Closed 24/12/2015
Case Duration 59 weeks and 0 days
Host Countries Canada (OECD member)
Turkey (OECD member)
Issue(s) Refusal to negotiate to resolve a strike; interference with the right to organise; retaliation against trade unionists
Provisions Cited II.A.11 IV.1 V.1-a V.1-a V.1-b
Related Cases Norges Bank Investment Management V United Steelworkers (Canada) and Birlesik Metal Iscileri Sendikasi (Birlesik Metal IS) (Turkey)
Case Description In November 2014, the United Steelworkers (Canada) and Birlesik Metal Iscileri Sendikasi (Birlesik Metal IS) (Turkey) submitted a complaint to the U.S. National Contact Point concerning violations of workers human rights by Crown Holdings in Canada and Turkey. The complaint stated that Crown Holdings had refused to engage in negotiations with striking Canadian workers, represented by the USW, and delayed the unionisation of Turkish workers who had voted to be represented by Birlesik Metal IS by appealing against a court ruling recognising the union. The complaint also stated that since the Turkish workers started organising, twenty-six workers had been dismissed. Five of these won their court cases for reinstatement, but Crown BevCan (a Crown Holdings subsidiary) refused to reverse the dismissal.
Developments On March, 13, 2015, Ontario, Canada Minister of Labor appointed mediator-arbitrator Morton Mitchnick as the sole member of an Industrial Inquiry Commission to facilitate a resolution in the dispute between USW and Crown in Canada.
In Canada, alongside submitting the complaint to the US NCP, USW appealed to the Canadian government. Ontario’s Labour Ministry ordered an industrial inquiry to investigate the dispute in Canada. This intervention initiated a mediation process involving both the USW and Crown Holdings. By July 2015, a tentative settlement was said to be in the works (http://rabble.ca/news/2015/07/after-22-months-on-strike-tentative-deal-crown-holdings-workers).
On 10 August 2015, USW and Crown Holdings reached agreement on a return to work at the Weston, Ontario Crown plant. The issues relating to Canada were thus successfully resolved.
The U.S. NCP accepted the case, determining that the issues raised by USW/Birleşik Metal-İŞ were substantiated and merited further consideration under the Guidelines. The U.S. NCP offered mediation to the parties but Crown Holdings refused to participate.
The U.S. NCP published a Final Statement in which it expressed its regret that Crown Holdings, Inc. was unwilling to participate in the process and made the following recommendations:
Commitment to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises:
The USNCP recommends that Crown Holdings, Inc. explicitly commit itself to implementing the Guidelines. A commitment to implement the Guidelines includes a commitment to ensuring that rights are respected -- the rights of its workers, including the right of workers to establish or join trade unions of their own choosing, as well as the rights of other individuals affected by its business operations. Under the Guidelines, all multinational enterprises are expected to have in place a due diligence process to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse impacts on matters covered by the Guidelines, including violations of trade union rights, and to account for how such adverse impacts are addressed. The USNCP notes that, in its communications, Crown Holdings, Inc. has suggested that the results of several Turkish court cases justified its conclusion that it has not violated the Guidelines. However, while the Turkish Supreme Court found that Crown BevCan’s employees had failed to sufficiently prove that their employment was terminated for union-related reasons, the Court also found that their termination was unjustified and ordered Crown BevCan to reinstate and/or compensate them and to cover their legal costs. These judgments, as well as the fact that national court systems do not always speak to the international standards of the Guidelines,emphasize the need for companies to commit themselves to the Guidelines and for processes such as this Specific Instance process.
Conduct Corporate-Wide Labor Review:
The USNCP recommends that Crown Holdings, Inc. Conduct a corporate-wide labor rights review, consistent with the recommendation of the Guidelines, focusing in particular on Chapters V.1.a and V.1.b, establishing that enterprises should respect the right of workers employed by the enterprise to establish or join trade unions and representatives of their own choosing, and respect the right of workers employed by the enterprise to have trade unions of their own choosing recognized for the purpose of collective bargaining, and to engage in constructive negotiations.
The USNCP recommends that Crown Holdings, Inc. evaluate the allegations raised by the submitters and consider how to address them, including through formal or informal engagement with the submitters.
Maintaining confidentiality within the Specific Instance process is important to building confidence and trust, which are crucial to reaching a mediated settlement of differences. The USNCP recommends that all submitters of Specific Instances maintain confidentiality within the Specific Instance process, including by not releasing the text of the Specific Instance itself to parties outside the process.
|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?|
[Publication date: 2/7/2015]
'Press release: The Norwegian NCP not to proceed with two complaints against NBIM
- upholds recommendations on implementation of the OECD Guidelines'
http://www.responsiblebusiness.no/files/2015/06/Pressemelding-NBIM-EN-.pdf [Date URL accessed: 3/8/2015]