IUF and Danone Sign Global Agreement to Promote Formal Employment

IUF Press Release

Geneva, March 15, 2016
The IUF and the French-based food products transnational Danone today signed a ground-breaking Agreement on Sustainable Employment and Access to Rights built around a joint commitment to promote “permanent, direct employment as an essential foundation for a sustainable business anchored in respect for human rights.”

With this Agreement, Danone and the IUF establish a framework to bring about continuous progress in limiting or reducing precarious forms of employment through a process of monitoring and negotiation.

The Agreement affirms the essential contribution of permanent direct employment to successful business performance and a positive social footprint in Danone workplaces and beyond, grounded in respect for human rights. It details the specific ways in which “fixed-term contracts and outsourced employment relationships may have the effect of depriving workers of the protections and the rights they are due”, and aims to ensure that employment on fixed-term contracts is limited to where it can be clearly identified as temporary and non-recurring. Local management and trade unions, according to the agreement, are to jointly identify the circumstances where fixed-term employment and/or the outsourcing of services may be introduced by mutual agreement, and will regularly review developments in order to limit these forms of employment.

Danone will promote the application of the Agreement at operations in which the company has minority ownership and at Danone Group suppliers. Danone and the IUF will actively encourage local unions and management to engage in the implementation process and will monitor progress through a regular review process at global level.

“Workers and their trade unions have become increasingly concerned by the multiple barriers to the effective exercise of rights posed by fixed-term and outsourced employment relationships,” says IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald. “With this agreement, the IUF and Danone have succeeded in establishing a framework and a practical basis for negotiating concrete solutions which will facilitate workers’ full access to the rights set out in international Conventions and standards. We now look forward to the implementation process.”

 [Ed. note -Paul Garver:  Over nearly three decades, the IUF [during which period I worked for the IUF for 15 years] and Danone have agreed to a series of global framework agreements, of which this is the latest and perhaps the most ambitious.    Workers in almost all  countries have demanded employment security protection with benefits guaranteed by a union contract. However direct permanent employment has been steadily eroded by the growth of outsourced, temporary, fixed-term or other forms of “precarious” employment.  As in the case of all global labor-management framework agreements, actual implementation of workers’ rights at the local factory and office levels and effective extension of these rights to those who work at company suppliers and those companies in which Danone has only minority ownership may require more decades].

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