Unilever PLC - Pakistan (Rahim Yar Kahn II) V International Union of Food Workers (IUF)

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 27/10/2008
Date Closed 13/08/2009
Case Duration 41 weeks and 3 days
Host Country Pakistan  (Non-adhering country)
Sector Food, Agriculture and Tobacco 
Issue(s) The use of precarious work to undermine freedom of assocation and the ability to bargain collectively in violation of ILO Conventions 87 and 98
Provisions Cited II.1  IV.1-a   
Related Cases Unilever PLC V International Union of Food Workers (IUF) (Rahim Yar Kahn I, Pakistan)
Case Description On 27th October 2008, the IUF re-submitted a case which had been accepted by the UK NCP at the beginning of April 2008, after which a group of the dismissed temporary workers founded the Action Committee for the Dismissed Workers of Unilever Rahim Yar Kahn supported by the IUF. Therefore the IUF re-submitted the case on the part of this new group of workers.
Developments On 15 December 2008, the UK NCP published its Initial Assessment in which it accepted the case. It invited parties to confirm whether they were willing to accept the UK NCP sponsored conciliation/mediation process. At this point, both parties asked for time to reach agreement through bilateral meetings outside the UK NCP complaint process.

On 3rd May 2009, due to a lack of progress in the bilateral meetings, the IUF asked the UK NCP to arrange and facilitate conciliation/mediation. The UK NCP appointed an external Arbitrator and Mediator, John Mulholland, to serve as conciliator-mediator.

Conciliation/mediation meetings took place on 29 April 2009, 26 May and 24 June 2009 in London. The meetings were chaired by Mr Mulholland.

In the end no mediation was required as the parties agreed a mutually acceptable solution to the complaint through conciliation.

Outcome In August 2009, the case was closed following a settlement that required Unilever to create 120 new permanent positions at the plant, effective from June 24 2009, and that all Action Committee members should be appointed to these positions. According to the agreement, these workers should suffer no discrimination at the factory, and the company should pledge to abstain from interference in the work of the union in which they will now be members. For the small number of Action Committee members who do not currently meet the education requirements, Unilever will provide a scholarship of up to two years equivalent to the monthly permanent wage, plus medical insurance. During this time, permanent positions are to be held open.

The dismissed former temporary staff who do not receive new positions are to receive a lump sum payment equivalent to just under three years of their previous monthly wage. Those appointed to permanent jobs will receive a smaller lump sum payment.

It was agreed that implementation of the agreement was to be monitored by the IUF and Unilever at local and international level.

Due to the successful conclusion of the conciliation process and the agreement reached by the parties, the UK NCP did not make any examination on the allegations contained in the complaint.

Organisations

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

Companies

Multinational Company Unilever PLC (Home country: UK, Netherlands)
Subsidiary Unilever Rahim Yar Kahn Pakistan (Home country: Pakistan)

Complainants

Lead Complainant International Union of Food Workers (IUF) : Global Union Federation 
Supporting Complainant NNational Federation of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Workers of Pakistan : National Sectoral Union 
Affected Party Action Committee for the Dismissed Workers of Unilever Rahim Yar Khan : Company Union 

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

According to the IUF this case "consitutes an important union victory in the fight against disposable jobs and Unilever's strategy of reducing bargaining power by radically the shrinking the number of permanent employees eligible for union membership and inclusion in the collective bargaining unit".