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Trade Union Messages at the OECD Forum on Responsible Business – II

19 June 2020

The 2020 OECD Forum on Responsible Business Conduct took place virtually and in two parts.  The first part took place 19 May and covered topics related to responsible business, resilient supply chains, government policies and social dialogue in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.  The second part of the forum was held 17 June, covering the topic of responsible business grievance mechanisms and remedy for violations of the Guidelines.

More than one thousand people heard themes raised by workers around the world.  Trade union leaders highlighted the subject of trade union forms of effective grievance mechanisms.

Corporate-driven forms of grievance mechanisms and international non-judicial remedy processes dominated the topics covered by presenters.  In concluding remarks, TUAC General Secretary, Pierre Habbard challenged that narrative, “Trade unions around the world operate grievance mechanisms that reduce risk and increase productivity for multinationals, avoiding delays and disruptions in essential goods and services. ”

Earlier in the day, Edwin Atema, the Road Transport Project Leader for the Dutch Trade Union Confederation (FNV), emphasised what it takes to have effective remediation in complex supply chains.  “When you get down to the worker on the road, you find out we have a pandemic of exploitation on EU Roads. Trade unions are able to fill the impact gap in responsibility in more fragmented, opaque supply chains.” He offered a simple solution, “Framework agreements provide a more functioning model, we work with the ITF and IUF, discussing with several companies.  Bottom line, the problems are so widespread they cannot be solved company by company.  We keep trying, but we need industry leaders to step up and work with us.”

As a final push to the 2020 RBC Forum, Pierre Habbard called for a new OECD effort to guarantee responsible business impacts are real and not just reported.  “Covid-19 shows us we have no time to waste. OECD has the tools and legal instruments to help apply mandatory due diligence to create a level playing field.”


The complete agenda, videos of all the presentations are available on the Forum website.

See Also Trade Union Messages from RBC Forum Part I