Swatch Group V Union Syndicale Suisse (USS)

Overview

NCP Decision Rejected
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 01/02/2004
Date Closed 01/06/2005
Case Duration 69 weeks and 3 days
Host Country Switzerland  (OECD member)
Issue(s) Failure to recognise collective bargaining agreement
Provisions Cited I.3  II.10  IV.8   
Case Description The Swiss NCP was contacted by in February 2004 concerning the activities of several subsidiaries of the Swatch Group. The subsidiaries, although covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the Swatch Group and the trade union organisation FTMH , did not recognise the agreement.
Developments The NCP responded that it would seek the advice of the OECD Investment Committee concerning the receivability of the case. Even though the NCP acknowledged that the Guidelines reflected good practices for all, it questioned the applicability of the Guidelines since the company was based in Switzerland and not in a foreign country. The Guidelines, however, do not make a distinction between MNEs operating abroad and those operating in home countries.

In July 2004, the NCP made a formal request for clarification to the OECD Investment Committee. In its reply dated April 2005, the Committee recognised that the Guidelines were applicable to both domestic and international operations of companies. But it stressed that the implementation procedures had been created to deal with issues arising in international investment - not domestic investment. Finally, it encouraged the NCP to address the issue in terms of how to further the effectiveness of the Guidelines.

Outcome The issue was finally resolved in June 2005 after Swatch reached an agreement with the union concerning the extension of the collective bargaining agreement to three plants in the region of Tessin.

Organisations

Lead NCP Switzerland NCP : Single Government Department 

Companies

Multinational Company Swatch Group

Complainants

Lead Complainant USS Union Syndicale Suisse : National Centre 

TUAC Analysis

Did the NCP publish its initial assessment? status-icon
Did the case involve parallel proceedings? status-icon
Was the existence of parallel proceedings an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Was the businsess relationship other than that of a subsidiary? status-icon
Was the nature of the business relationship an obstacle to the NCP accepting the case? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its acceptance of this case? status-icon
Did the NCP offer mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the company accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Did the complainant(s) accept the offer of mediation or conciliation? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation held? status-icon
Was mediation or conciliation conducted by a professional mediator? status-icon
Did the parties reach agreement? status-icon
If yes, did the NCP publish this agreement following the consent of the parties? status-icon
If mediation was refused or failed did the NCP make an assessment of whether the company had breached the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP conduct in-host country fact finding? status-icon
Did the NCP make recommendations to the company on the future implementation of the Guidelines? status-icon
Did the NCP publish its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP provide for follow-up of the agreement/recommendations? status-icon
Did the NCP inform other relevant government departments about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP inform public pension funds about its final statement or report? status-icon
Did the NCP apply any consequences in this case? status-icon
Did the NCP follow the indicative timescales set out in the procedural guidance? status-icon
Was there a positive outcome for the workers involved in this case? status-icon
Did the filing of the case under the Guidelines have a positive impact for the workers involved? status-icon
Did the lead NCP play a positive role? status-icon
If different, did the home NCP play a positive role? status-icon

Implications

The Swiss NCP made a request for clarification to the OECD Investment Committee on the application of the Guidelines to domestic investment. The Investment Committee responded that whilst the principles of the Guidelines apply the implementation procedures do not. This clarification has been cited in other cases.