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|New BWI Model Framework agreement|
Through initiatives and pressure from the United Nations, OECD, governments and others, a growing number of big Multinational Companies (MNCs) have entered into a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) process based on a sustainable development approach including the three pillars of social responsibility, environmental protection and economic viability.
However, the vast majority of MNCs are operating without respecting such standards. It is also known that many governments in developing countries but also in Central and Eastern European Countries do not put pressure on foreign MNCs to respect labour standards because of the need to attract investments.
There are, however, many examples of Multinational Companies achieving high productivity and good business by respecting labour standards and motivating and training employees.
BWI signed several IFAs on workers rights with major MNCs, namely with:
IKEA (furniture, Sweden)
Faber-Castell (pencils, Germany)
Hochtief (construction, Germany)
Skanska (construction, Sweden)
Ballast Nedam (construction, Holland)
Stabilo (instruments for writing and cosmetics, Germany)
Impregilo (construction, Italy)
Veidekke (construction, Norway)and
Lafarge (building materials, France)
Royal BAM Groep (construction, Netherlands)
Staedtler (writing and drafting, Germany)
Wilkhahn (office furniture, Germany)
Italcementi (construction, Italy)
GDF Suez (France)
Multinational companies signing Global Company Agreements with BWI commit themselves to respect workers' rights based on the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In addition, the company should also agree to offer decent wages and working conditions as well as to provide a safe and healthy working environment; and in many cases they contain a complaint and/or monitoring system and cover also suppliers and subcontractors. Some consider framework agreements to be negotiated codes of conduct with complaints systems; however, this is not a useful way of looking at these agreements which are qualitatively different from codes of conduct. These framework agreements constitute a formal recognition of social partnership at the global level. These agreements provide a global framework for protecting trade union rights and encouraging social dialogue and collective bargaining. Therefore they complement and do not substitute for agreements at the national or local level.
The purpose of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) is to assist affiliates to get recognised as unions and to start a social dialogue on the company and national level with companies, suppliers and subcontractors of BWI partner companies. This should lead to collective bargaining and finally to improved working conditions and better wages. However, the success of any global company agreement will depend on the strength of the unions at the national level and full implementation of the global agreements is only possible when workers are organised in free trade unions and are able to bargain collectively at the national and enterprise level.