British American Tobacco (BAT) V Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)

Overview

NCP Decision Accepted
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 11/12/2007
Date Closed 04/03/2011
Case Duration 168 weeks and 3 days
Host Country Malaysia  (Non-adhering country)
Sector Food, Agriculture and Tobacco 
Issue(s) Right to trade union representation
Provisions Cited IV.1-a  IV.4-a  IV.7  IV.8   
Case Description In December 2007, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) submitted a complaint against British American Tobacco (BAT) concerning the denial of the right of workers to organise.

The complaint contends that in August 2006, the company started transforming posts held by workers into management positions that could not be held by trade union members. The MTUC asserted that this represented an attempt by BAT to destroy the British American Tobacco Employees Union (BATEU). The workers were required to carry out the same tasks as before but by redefining the posts as 'management', they could not, according to Malaysian law, be filled by trade union members. Workers who did not accept the new designation were forced to leave the company. As a result, the BATEU lost most of its members.

Developments In March 2008, the UK NCP issued an initial assessment in which it accepted most of the issues raised in the case. The UK NCP did not, however, accept for consideration the allegation raised under Chapter IV Paragraph 7, due to a lack of evidence.

The UK NCP suspended the case in April 2008 because of parallel proceedings in the host country. This decision pre-dated the UK NCP's guidance on parallell proceedings, which was introduced in September 2009. The decision to supend the case was then re-assessed in the light of this guidance and the UK NCP proceeded to produce its final statement.

Outcome On 4 March 2011, the UK NCP published its Final Statement. It did not examine allegations made that

Organisations

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

Companies

Multinational Company British American Tobacco (Home country: UK)
Subsidiary Rothmans International
Subsidiary British American Tobacco Malaysia (Home country: Malaysia)

Complainants

Lead Complainant MTUC- Malaysia : National Centre 
Affected Party British American Tobacco Employees Union : International industry/company body 

Related Documents

UK NCP  [Publication date: 4/3/2011] 'Final Statement by the UK National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the Guidelines) Complaint from the Malaysian Trade Union Congress against British American Tobacco Malaysia Berhad (Malaysia)'
   http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/business-sectors/docs/f/11-774-final-state
   ment-ncp-bat-malaysia.pdf
[Date URL accessed: 22/8/2011]

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

Initially suspended due to parallel legal proceedings in the host country. However, the UK NCP later proceeded with the case ruling on those issues that were not the subject of the parallel legal proceeding.