Union Busting: the New Worrying Trend of Large Multinationals?

How Starbucks, Amazon and Google do not respect the industrial rights

Large multinationals are ‘union busting’. This entails that they are fighting trade unions to prevent workers from exercising their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. For instance, famous coffee chain Starbucks ran a fierce anti-union campaign. Amazon even spent 14.2 million dollars on anti-union consultants last year to prevent freedom of association and collective bargaining within its workforce. Additionally, Google hired union-busting consultants to convince employees that “unions suck”.


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals on mandatory due diligence – part 8: written by Eva Lammers and Harmen Goudappel

In order to work together on sustainable business practices, multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) entail interactive processes involving corporations, civil society organizations, and other interest groups. MSIs are organizations with a membership-based structure (for example the Fear Wear Foundation), project facilitators, roundtable talks (for example the Dutch Coal Dialogue), and accredited bodies, among others, that perform diverse tasks. In spite of their differences, all MSIs strive to promote sustainability in company operations through stakeholder collaboration.


Cambodians Drowning in Debt and Increased Child Labour Due to Microfinancing Sector

The importance of due diligence in the financial sector

What started off as a Nobel Peace Prize-winning concept, ended up as a nightmare for many Cambodians. The microfinancing system was developed to offer financial help to people who want to start or expand a business but can not get a loan at regular banks. Microfinance is thus aiming at reducing poverty. While well intentioned, the system has led to overindebtedness causing child labour and forced land-sale, thus causing grave harm to poor people in India, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Jordan, and most of all in Cambodia.


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals on mandatory due diligence – part 7: written by Harmen Goudappel

In this blog we will continue to explore the different proposals on mandatory due diligence in Europe. After zooming in on the Dutch and German proposals and their relationships to the proposal for a European Directive in the last two parts of this series, this blog will focus on the differences between the Loi sur le devoir de vigilance (hereinafter: French Vigilance Law) and the European Directive. In that context, the main focus will lay on the scope of the two proposals.


ILO Supervision: Voluntary But Effective?

An explanation of the ILO’s supervisory system

The International Labour Organization (ILO) works hard to improve labour conditions for workers around the world. To this end, it has created many conventions for states to ratify, containing various important fundamental labour rights. For this to be effective, supervision is necessary. Therefore, the ILO has a detailed and unique supervisory system to ensure countries implement the conventions they ratify, which will be explained in this blog. However, this system functions on a voluntary basis. Does this affect the effectiveness of protecting fundamental labour rights through the system of the ILO?


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals on mandatory due diligence – part 6: written by Eva Lammers

The draft of the European Directive is all about making sure companies do their homework when it comes to human rights and the environment. EU member states must introduce legal requirements based on the OECD Guidelines and the UNGPs. It could be defined as a guide for companies to make sure they are being responsible global citizens. The Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (hereinafter: German Supply Chain Act) is Germany's version of a supply chain act, with its own twist. In this blog, the German Supply Chain Act will be compared to the European Directive.


Ten Years Since Rana Plaza – What Has Changed?

What the biggest disaster in the garment industry has brought about

This week it has been ten years since ‘Rana Plaza’ in Bangladesh collapsed, also known as the ‘9/11’ of the garment industry. Thousands of workers had to keep working in this 8-floored building despite concerns about the structure of the building, expressed towards their supervisors. Clothes of famous international brands like Gucci, Prada, Versace and Moncler were made in the textile factories based in the top floors of the building, added without permit. These floors were not suitable for heavy industrial machines, important bearing walls were missing. The collapse of those floors tore down the rest of the building, and over 1,130 people did not survive. The biggest disaster in the history of the garment industry was a wake up call that the safety of textile workers desperately needed improvement.


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals on mandatory due diligence – part 5: contributed by Eva Lammers and Harmen Goudappel

In part 3 we already dove into the European Directive, in which we discussed the main contents. In the previous blog of this series, it is already discussed that although a directive is currently being worked on at the European level, several EU countries already have legislation on business and human rights. In this blog, we will compare the European Directive to the Dutch proposal. Further on, the German and French regulations will also be discussed.


The Future of Children Lies in Our Hands

Social protection as a means to end child labour

A few weeks ago, UNICEF and the ILO published a joint report on how more than a billion children under 15 years old lack critical social protection worldwide. The Director of the Social Protection Department of the ILO states universal social protection paves the way to sustainable development and social justice. Lack of social protection makes children more vulnerable for child labour. Social protection is one of the main goals of the ILO in the light of a human-centred approach to the future of work. These goals sound very promising. What is social protection actually, and how can it decrease child labour?


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals for mandatory due diligence – part 4

As mentioned in the previous blog of this series, the text of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (hereinafter: Directive) is not final yet. The European Council has adopted its negotiating position (‘general approach’), and the European Parliament is expected to vote on its position during its plenary in May. Negotiations between the Council, Parliament and Commission are expected to start in the summer, possibly reaching an agreement on the final text by the end of 2023. However, reaching that agreement may take a bit longer.


Sexual Abuse: Violation of a Safe and Healthy Workplace?

Convention C190 on Violence and Harassment as part of OSH

Last week, International Women’s Day was celebrated all around the world. On that day, amongst other things, women’s right to work and professional achievements working towards equality between men and women are celebrated. However, there is still a long way to go. Three weeks ago, the BBC revealed shocking stories of sexual abuse of women on Kenyan tea farms. The harassment took place for years on plantations owned by Unilever and James Finlay & Co. After the allegations were made public, Lipton Teas and Infusions, who recently bought Unilever’s plantations, has reportedly taken action immediately. Even though Unilever launched a “zero tolerance” approach to sexual harassment including a reporting system 10 years ago, many women were sexually abused by their bosses, and when they reported it to their supervisors, no action was taken. Jobs are very scarce in Kenya, so women hardly have a choice to quit since they have families to feed.


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals for mandatory due diligence – part 3

Mandatory due diligence is a sensitive subject which evokes many different reactions. In this series (see part 1 and 2), it is already discussed what due diligence is, why it is becoming mandatory and what companies’ views are on this obligation. Considering it has been one year since the European Commission adopted the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (hereinafter: Directive), in this blog the contents of the difficult-to-read Directive will be clarified.


Are Supplier Codes of Conduct Effective?

By Sarah Vandenbroucke

Multinational impact on human rights in global supply chains is gaining momentum, and is increasingly discussed by legislators and academics. To do business responsibly, companies often adopt supplier codes of conduct through which social and human rights are protected. These codes are also the documents to be found in our database.Since supplier codes of conduct (hereinafter: SCs) form self-regulatory tools, companies are free to use wording and compliance methods of their own choice. Does this make supplier codes solely window dressing policy documents?


Mandatory Due Diligence – Threat or Opportunity?

Proposals for mandatory due diligence – part 2: ESG Manager Manuella Appiah on the due diligence approach of Sunrock

Mandatory due diligence is a sensitive subject which evokes many different reactions. In the first part of this series, we discussed what due diligence is and why the EU and different national governments are planning on making it mandatory. For this blog, we invited Sunrock ESG Manager Manuella Appiah to tell us more about due diligence from their company’s perspective.


Structural Impact of COVID-19 on the World of Work

How a pandemic is not just a threat to public health

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a crisis like this generation had never seen before. Everyone was and continues to be affected in aspects of their private or professional lives. For some people it may feel like we are back to normal, others may say the pandemic is far from over. But the pandemic was – or is – not only a threat to public health. In a previous blog, we reviewed WESO 2023 and issues regarding recent crises. In this blog we will focus specifically on the impact of a public health crisis on the world of work.

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