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4 November 2021
UN: draft Treaty on corporate accountability for human rights violations still stalled
Continuing the process launched in 2014, the open-ended intergovernmental working group under the aegis of the UN met in Geneva, between 25-29 October for a 7th session of negotiations to establish a legally binding instrument regulating the activities of companies with regard to human rights. While the United States re-joined the process in 2021, after President Trump pulled the US out three years previously, the text remains blocked by the wait-and-see attitude of major players like the European Union. Crucial...
28 October 2021
Great Britain: retail sector calls for a law to prevent all forms of abuse in subcontracting activities
Tesco supermarkets, John Lewis and Primark stores, online retailer Asos, insurance company Aviva, food multinational Mondelez (owns Cadbury), Mars, Twinings, Unilever, and Microsoft are among the 36 companies that wrote to the UK government on 22 October calling for a law that would require companies to verify that their subcontracting chains respect human rights and the environment.
27 October 2021
Leaders of 26 major companies commit to eliminating gender inequality by 2030
On 18 October at the opening of the Women’s Forum 2021 in Milan and ahead of the 30-31 October G20 summit to be held in Rome, 26 leaders of major corporations signed a ‘zero gap’ pact. Through this pact, the leaders of companies such as Gucci, BNP Paribas, Engie, Enel, Publicis, and Microsoft have committed to eliminating gender inequality by 2030 and to ‘putting women at the heart of the economy.’ According to the think tank’s barometer, women represent 52% of the world’s workforce, yet...
21 October 2021
China: the war against overworking laid bare on a massive spreadsheet
Since 12 October a spreadsheet, accessible via the Tencent QQ messenger platform has been making waves across the Chinese social networks. Along the columns are detailed the names of companies, their location, their precise working hours with clocking in and out times, the number of days worked, the length meal breaks, and available rest days, etc. In short, it provides a comprehensive overview of work patterns with data that has been populated in real time on an anonymous basis by Chinese tech industry employees,...
13 October 2021
ILO adopts new code of practice with guidance to strengthen health and safety for textile workers
Avoiding ‘tragedies’ such as the Rana Plaza disaster, which claimed the lives of more than 1,100 textile workers in 2013 when a building housing manufacturing facilities supplying major international retailers collapsed in Bangladesh (c.f. article No. 10636). This is the purpose of the new set of guidelines adopted by the ILO following a meeting of a committee of experts representing governments, and employers and workers organizations, held between 04-08 October 2021. While not legally binding, the code is...
6 October 2021
Great Britain: creation of a hospitality council to support the sector exit the crisis
The Hospitality Council is a UK Government initiative that it set up to help the authorities identify the best support strategy at a time when the hospitality industry is attempting to recover now some of the effects of the pandemic are starting to recede. The council comprises 22 industry experts, including executives from companies such as Deliveroo and Burger King, and representatives of industry associations.
Managing the fallout of Covid-19
29 September 2021
United States: complaint filed against Apple for importing products made with forced labor
On 27 September the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) research arm, the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) announced it had filed a complaint against Apple for importing products made in factories that make use of forced Uighur labor. Filed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the complaint is based on a 1930 law, the Tariff Act, which prohibits ‘the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured labor, and the fact that ‘such...
7 September 2021
Great Britain: a parliamentary committee inquiry considers the issue of menopause at work
On July 23  2021 the UK House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee launched an inquiry to examine whether legislation and company practices adequately support women during menopause. According to the multi-stakeholder committee, more than one million female employees left their jobs due to menopausal symptoms. Many women’s careers are also disrupted during this period, which sometimes even prevents them from securing high-level positions during their 50s. “Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands...
3 September 2021
United Kingdom: government reiterates call for companies to improve support for domestic violence victims
On 26 August, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced that it has become a member of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse. With this move the UK government, which passed its Domestic Abuse Bill earlier this year, is calling on more businesses to sign up to the initiative. The BBC, department store chain John Lewis, supermarket group Sainsbury’s, and ride-hailing application Uber are among those that have already joined the EIDA, which provides members with access...
1 September 2021
Covid-19: mandatory workplace vaccination is gaining ground
While employees will gradually have to return to on-site/in-office working, mandatory workplace vaccination is currently under debate in many countries. Several governments are already making vaccination mandatory for health care workers and those working in settings with vulnerable people. Others, such as France, are even going further and require that a certain number of professionals who work in permanent contact with the public be vaccinated. Lastly, while some governments have not taken a particular position...