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OECD Confirms support for Trade Unions in Meaningful Due Diligence

07 May 2021

The TUAC welcomes the clarification by the Investment Committee of the OECD in response to the TUAC request to clarify the interpretation of the OECD Guidelines by the UK NCP.  The OECD Investment Committee clarification confirms that meaningful grievance mechanisms and due diligence systems can be most effective when they include trade unions.

‘When examining due diligence steps taken by a company in respect of risks to workers based on industry-led or multi-stakeholder initiatives, NCPs should consider whether these initiatives include meaningful engagement with worker representatives, including with bona fide trade unions as a priority where these exist, consistent with the clarifications set out [in the report].’  – OECD Response to TUAC’s Request for Clarification & Recommendation

The TUAC commends the balanced and thorough analysis conducted by the Investment Committee, Working Party on Responsible Business Conduct, and RBC Centre.  By producing these recommendations, the OECD continues to make progress towards realising positive worker impacts available when businesses implement the full potential of the OECD Guidelines.

In 2011, the OECD Guidelines and UN Guiding Principles for business and human rights introduced the standards for human rights due diligence, giving hope to millions of workers aspiring to improve their wages and working conditions with collective bargaining.

Business uptake has thus far been mostly elusive.  The clarification by the OECD sends clear instructions to those responsible businesses aspiring to address risks and promote benefits of the Guidelines.