Dutch Travel Agencies V FNV and CNV

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 27/11/2002
Date Closed 01/04/2004
Case Duration 70 weeks and 1 days
Host Country Burma  (Non-adhering country)
Sector Tourism 
Issue(s) Forced labour in Burma
Provisions Cited IV.1-c   
Case Description In November 2002, the Dutch trade unions the FNV and CNV raised a case with the Dutch NCP concerning seven Dutch travel agencies. The unions contended that since these travel agencies promoted tourism in Burma, they were inevitably linked to the regime, and thereby implicity failed to contribute to the elimination of forced labour.
Developments The NCP held a hearing with the trade unions in January 2003. A tripartite meeting with the parties concerned was organised in July 2003. Next the NCP informed the social partners that it could not handle the case because of a lack of an investment nexus. Yet the case had been brought to the NCP because the Dutch government had stated that the NCP was the proper body to deal with issues over Dutch companies’ operations in Burma, whether they related to trade or investment.

In January 2004, the Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs addressed the General Association of Dutch Travel Agencies explaining that the government preferred that they abstained from commercial activities in Burma. If they would however continue pursuing their activities, they should at least follow certain recommendations.

Outcome In April 2004, the NCP issued a communication arguing that the Guidelines were not applicable to the case. However, despite its finding that due to the lack of an investment nexus the Guidelines did not apply it also issued a statement which discouraged travel to Burma.

Organisations

Lead NCP Netherlands NCP : Independent Expert Body 

Companies

Multinational Company Far Holidays International
Multinational Company Asian Way of Life (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company Summum (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company Koning Aap (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company Fox Vakanties (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company Best Tours Nederland. B.V. (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company VNC Travel (Home country: Netherlands)
Multinational Company Outsight Travel (Home country: Netherlands)

Complainants

Lead Complainant CNV : National Centre 
Lead Complainant FNV Federatie Nederlandse Vakbeweging : 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

TUAC Assessment

The Investment Committee has recognised that 'the international community may continue to draw on the values underlying the Guidelines in other contexts' as well as 'the fact that the OECD Declaration does not provide precise definitions of international investment and multinational enterprises allows for flexibility of interpretation and adaptation to particular circumstances'. This ruling is of grave concern especially as the NCP considered the case eligible before the investment nexus was defined, but not afterwards.

Implications

The requirement for there to be an investment nexus