TRADE UNION CASES
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 06/03/2009
Date Closed 20/11/2009
Case Duration 37 weeks and 0 days
Host Country Pakistan (Non-adhering country)
Sector Food, Agriculture and Tobacco
Issue(s) Elimination of direct employment and extensive use of temporary employment contracts thus undermining the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining
Provisions Cited II.1 II.4 II.9 IV.1-a
Case Description In March 2009, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) raised a case against Unilever concerning workers at a factory owned by Unilever which employed over 700 workers of which only 22 were directly employed by Unilever and therefore eligible to be recognised for collective bargaining with Unilever. The submission argued that precarious employment was deliberately employed as means to deny rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining with the real employer - ie. Unilever.
Developments The UK accepted the case. It invited both parties to accept the UK NCP sponsored conciliation/mediation process. Both parties accepted the offer. The NCP appointed ACAS2 arbitrator and mediator John Mulholland to serve as conciliator-mediator.
An initial conciliation meeting took place on 15 October 2009 in London and a second conciliation on 21 October 2009. The meetings were chaired by Mr Mulholland.
Outcome No mediation was required as the parties agreed a mutually acceptable solution to the complaint through conciliation.
The IUF and Unilever agreed that there would be change in the model of employment based on a combination of directly employed permanent labour and contract agency workers. Unilever also agreed to create 200 permanent positions.
The Action Committee members agreed to withdraw all court petitions.
The full text of the agreement reached by the parties is attached as an Annex to the UK NCP's Final Statement.
Bi-ministerial plus Multi-stakeholder Independent Board
International Union of Food Workers (IUF)
Global Union Federation
Affected Party National Federation of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Workers of Pakistan : National Union
|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 is a highly positive outcome. As a result of the process the number of workers in direct employment was raised from 22 to 222, thus widening the basis for union membership and establishing the principle that the use of precarious employment undermines freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively was legitimate grounds for a case.
This is a landmark in that the NCP accepted a case built on the argument that the use of precarious employment constitutes a fundamental attack on workers' rights to freedom of association and to bargain collectively
[Publication date: 20/11/2009]
'OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises Complaint from the IUF against Unilever plc on Pakistan’s Khanewal factory'
http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file53915.pdf [Date URL accessed: 17/4/2010]