Decent Work in Global Supply Chains

Chapter 4.3 The realities of Work on GSC


Ms Burrow from ITUC says that responsibility is outsourced in GSC indicating that by subcontracting the acquisition of certain services and supplies, the TNC are passing on responsibility on the conditions in which these services and supplies are produced to the subcontractors. Ms Burrow concentrates on working conditions but this outsourcing of responsibility also applies to other aspects of the sustainability (environmental, climatic...).

There are multiple examples of companies outsourcing part of their production such as the garment industry that was mention by Ms Burrow and Manoranjan Pegu above or the fishing industry referred to in the video. We can mention the food industry with cocoa, the big agro-commodities (palm oil, soy, timber and cattle), the mica mining used in both cosmetic and auto industry, the 3TG used in telecoms...

However, there are some initiatives that try to bring back this responsibility. One particular case is the French bill on the duty of care (or duty of vigilance) owed by parent and contracting companies (Devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et des entreprises donneuses d'ordre) which is expected to be adopted this very month (if French Presidential elections allow). The Bill has been under discussion at the National Assembly and the Senate since 2015. Under current drafting, it will require multinational corporations with more than 5 000 employees in France, or 10 000 in France and abroad, to prepare plans describing due diligence measures to identify and prevent risk of violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms including their full supply chain. The draft includes a provision for a civil fine of up to €10 million that can be increased to the point of being tripled. Although the bill still leaves room from improvement from a workers perspective, it is a very promising step to making companies legally responsible for their full supply chain.

When E. Macron was Minister of Economy he envisioned that a Directive was passed at European level in order to allow for a a level playing field for all European corporates.

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