TRADE UNION CASES
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Current Status Closed
Date Submitted 01/12/2006
Date Closed 12/12/2008
Case Duration 106 weeks and 0 days
Host Countries Democratic Republic of Congo (Non-adhering country)
Germany (OECD member)
Greece (OECD member)
Israel (OECD member)
Malawi (Non-adhering country)
Mozambique (Non-adhering country)
Nepal (Non-adhering country)
Panama (Non-adhering country)
Uganda (Non-adhering country)
US (OECD member)
Issue(s) Unpaid wages; working conditions; right to be represented by a trade union
Provisions Cited II.1 IV.1-a
Case Description Union Network International (UNI) submitted a case to the UK NCP concerning the activities of Group 4 Securicor (G4S) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Greece, Israel, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Uganda and the US. The NCPs in Greece, Israel and the US were also informed. UNI suggested that they case be hadnle by the home country NCP - the UK.
The UNI submission alleged that G4S was attempting to prevent workers from organising and furthermore that G4S has refused to pay workers the legally established minimum wage. In Israel, in June 2006, the Israeli Labour Ministry terminated its contract with the G4S subsidiary because of repeated violations of labour law. The trade unions report that the Labour Ministry had considered evoking the company’s license to operate.
Developments In January 2007, after meeting with the NCP, UNI provided further information on breaches of the Guidelines by G4S in Germany, Panama and Uruguay. Meanwhile, the problem in Uganda was resolved as the company agreed to recognise the union.
In February 2007, TUAC participated in a meeting organised by UNI to discuss G4S with its affiliates. Workers from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and North America testified to the anti-union behaviour of G4S. In Panama, workers had even been threatened at gunpoint. The NCP was invited to attend a meeting to discuss these issues with the workers directly concerned, but declined.
In October 2007, the case was postponed to allow the parties to reach a solution. However, as the negotiations failed to resolve all the issues, the NCP resumed its examination of parts of the case in January 2008. The UK NCP accepted the case for initial assessment in relation to the allegtions made in the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, An external mediator was appointed during the Spring.
Outcome On the 11th December 2008, the UK NCP announced that the UNI/G4S case had been successfully resolved after the UK NCP appointed an external mediator to manage a formal mediation and conciliation process. The arbitrator brought the parties together in a series of meetings, which resulted in a voluntary settlement.
On the 16th December, 2008 UNI and G4s signed a Global Framework Agreement. The agreement included commitments to conduct union elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mozambique to clarify issues regarding statutory workers' rights. In Malawi it was agreed that overtime payment should increase from 50% to at least 100% of normal wages.
Bi-ministerial plus Multi-stakeholder Independent Board
Supporting NCP US NCP : Single Department with Interagency Working Group
Supporting NCP Greece NCP : Single Government Department
Supporting NCP Israel NCP : Single Government Department
UNI Global Union
Global Union Federation
|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?|
The use of an external mediator by the UK NCP was highly effective. UNI noted that a further key factor in delivering success was the requirement by the NCP that the mediator had the authority to recommend a settlement that the parties should consider ‘sympathetically’. UNI considered this commitment to be an important part of the process.
The UK NCP considers that this case sends a strong message to companies that the UK NCP will "provide a high quality mediation service with the aim of assisting companies to come to their own settlement".
This is a landmark case as it was the first time that the UK NCP used a professional mediator.
Trades Union Congress
[Publication date: 16/9/2009]
'Human rights at work and British business'
by Owen Tudor
ess/ [Date URL accessed: 17/12/2009]
UK NCP [Publication date: 12/12/2008] 'G4S AND UNION NETWORK INTERNATIONAL'
http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file49308.doc [Date URL accessed: 17/4/2010]