British American Tobacco (BAT) V International Union of Food Workers (Burma)

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Withdrawn
Date Submitted 02/09/2003
Date Closed 01/02/2004
Case Duration 21 weeks and 5 days
Host Country Burma  (Non-adhering country)
Sector Food, Agriculture and Tobacco 
Issue(s) Forced labour Divestment from Burma
Provisions Cited II.1  II.2  II.10  II.11   
Case Description The operations of the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) in Burma were raised with the UK NCP by the International Union of Food and Allied Workers (IUF) in September 2003. BAT was conducting a joint venture with the Burmese military, which precluded it from complying with several of the paragraphs of the chapter on General Policies . The IUF argued that BAT's operations in Burma necessarily involved it in political activities which repeatedly had been condemned by resolutions of the United Nation Security Council, the ILO and other international bodies. Prior to the case being raised, the UK government had already encouraged BAT to leave Burma, but without any result.
Developments At the beginning of November 2003, BATsold its stake in Burma to a Singapore-based investment company because of a formal request from the British government to withdraw from Burma. It did so explaining that 'it is hard to ignore the political will of your government'. Consequently, the IUF withdrew the case in February 2004 after a separate meeting with BAT. Although the IUF was successful in reaching its goal to get BAT to disinvest, BAT is nevertheless present in Burma through licensing agreements.

Organisations

Lead NCP UK NCP : Bi-ministerial plus Multi-stakeholder Independent Board 

Companies

Multinational Company British American Tobacco (Home country: UK)

Complainants

Lead Complainant International Union of Food Workers (IUF) : Global Union Federation 

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

TUAC Assessment

t appears that the Guidelines case and the resulting discussion through the NCP did act as a focal point for getting some momentum in the company position.