Member area

Collective bargaining certified for infrastructure projects

07 May 2024

Trade unions welcome strengthened labour standards in the criteria for certifying infrastructure projects.

The improved standards follow the 2024 OECD Infrastructure Forum when it was announced that the Blue Dot Network (BDN) would be hosted by the OECD.

Updates to the BDN certification incentivise collective bargaining and decent work. BDN certified projects have three levels of certification – Essential, Superior and ‘Best in Class’ – and each category includes labour standards. The labor standards include:

  • Essential criteria for any infrastructure project include respect for ILO Conventions on the right to organise and collectively bargain.
  • Superior projects will go further by requiring frameworks with trade unions as a condition in bidding documents, guaranteeing respect for workers’ rights and collective bargaining is in place for all project operations.
  • ‘Best in Class’ projects are only possible when they have agreements in place with the national or global construction unions throughout the project life cycle. Project Owners and contractors desiring best in class certifications will have to demonstrate a priority for meaningful dialogue with workers and trade unions from project design through operations. Having these social guarantees from the project design stage also satisfies the investors’ demand for predictability, without potential labour disputes that can delay the project delivery.

“We are cautiously optimistic that investors will prefer BDN certified infrastructure projects to those that are not certified. This means projects that include collectively bargained working conditions with occupational health and safety at all stages of development.

“We call on OECD governments to convert the BDN voluntary criteria into mandatory regulations.”

— Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary of TUAC