Trade Union Strategies Towards Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

Representatives from European national unions – Bulgaria, Malta, Poland, Sweden - and ETUFs – EPSU, ETF - discussed strategies to ensure good working conditions in global supply chains with their colleagues from Eastern Europe and Central Asia – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine – on the occasion of a training course organized by both ACTRAV and ETUI in Turin.

In recent years, as economic liberalization and globalization gathered pace, the need for attracting foreign capital and/or prevent capital flight to other countries has often led to a situation where the Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) exercise major influence on policies and practices in the areas of investment, production, employment, labour standards and industrial relations not only at enterprise level, but also at national and global levels. A large number of MNEs also operate in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) where labour laws and trade union rights are de-facto not respected. Ensuring freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining in MNEs and in their supply chains remains a major challenge facing trade unions.

This course contributed to foster the debate within the trade union movement in Europe and Central Asia on how to develop effective trade union policies on GSCs and EPZs at the national and international level and on how to better organise workers in GSCs and in EPZs. This course was therefore a very good opportunity to exchange practices and better understand international, European and national context and how to improve working conditions in global supply chains. Future actions and strategies as well as national actions plans were discussed among participants. Participants highlighted the need to improve cooperation and transparency at all level of trade unions’ activities (national, European, global).

Guillaume Durivaux, EPSU policy officer for public utilities and company policy took part in the training course (ILO-ACTRAV/ETUI training session, 25-27 April).