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The Factory Floor Guide to Corporate Accountability: Seeking redress for labour rights violations in global supply chains

The Factory Floor Guide to Corporate Accountability: Seeking redress for labour rights violations in global supply chains

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Published by Oxfam
The purpose of this toolkit is to provide support to workers and worker organisations who are employed or operate within global supply chains and have had difficulty achieving fulfilment of their rights through local or national means of redress alone. It aims to complement, but not replace, local advocacy by providing some basic information about how workers can use corporate accountability strategies to enhance their campaigns.

To address the real causes of inequality and injustice, workers must have a say on corporate accountability and human rights at the international level. This toolkit gives workers and labour organisations resources to combine their local experience, knowledge and networks with international advocacy strategies to strengthen their voice on the issues that impact upon them the most.
The purpose of this toolkit is to provide support to workers and worker organisations who are employed or operate within global supply chains and have had difficulty achieving fulfilment of their rights through local or national means of redress alone. It aims to complement, but not replace, local advocacy by providing some basic information about how workers can use corporate accountability strategies to enhance their campaigns.

To address the real causes of inequality and injustice, workers must have a say on corporate accountability and human rights at the international level. This toolkit gives workers and labour organisations resources to combine their local experience, knowledge and networks with international advocacy strategies to strengthen their voice on the issues that impact upon them the most.

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Published by: Oxfam on Jul 23, 2013
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The factory floor guide to corporateaccountability 
SEEKING REDRESS FOR LABOUR RIGHTS VIOLATIONSIN GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS.
 
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to acknowledge and thank themany organisations and individuals who provided advicein the preparation of this publication. In particular, wewish to thank, Fairfood International, Maquila SolidarityNetwork, the Clean Clothes Campaign, Oxfam Australia,Oxfam Indonesia, Oxfam Great Britain and Oxfam America.
Published: September 2012Authors:
Sarah Rennie and Nicholas Whyte
Proof-reader:
Jez Hunghanfoo
Illustrator:
Antony Kraus
Design:
Tania Foot
Print production:
Meabh Friel and Fidia Wati
 
02The Factory Floor Guide to Corporate Accountability
Preface: Upholding workers’rights in a global economy 
The United Nations (UN) Framework for Business andHuman Rights states that all businesses have aresponsibility to respect, protect and remedy thehuman rights of individuals and communities impacted bytheir business operations. As part of this responsibility,businesses must ensure that women and men employedin their workplaces and supply chains can access theirbasic employment rights. These rights are contained inInternational Labour Organization (ILO) and UN humanrights conventions, and include the right to form unionsand engage in collective bargaining, the right to safe anddecent working conditions and the right to adecent wage.Yet global employment statistics paint a picture ofhardship and increasing insecurity. Close to 40% of theworld’s workers and their families live on less than US$2a day, while more than 50% lack secure employment.Women are particularly over-represented in insecure andlow paid forms of work. In export-oriented manufacturingsectors, women are usually the first to lose their jobs,despite devastating impacts for their families. Unsafeworking conditions remain a serious problem — the ILOestimates that accidents and diseases at work cause2 million fatalities every year.Holding businesses to account when workers’ rights areviolated is not easy. In many parts of the world economicinequality, paired with weak or corrupt law enforcement,make it very difficult for workers to seek justice.Workers who attempt to organise for fairer workingconditions risk intimidation, discrimination, unfairdismissal, false incrimination and in some cases violence.The lasting solution to this problem lies in ensuring thatworkers’ human rights, and particularly their freedom toorganise, are upheld by national laws and enforced bylocal authorities. However, in most places, there is stilla long way to go towards ensuring that businesses takefull responsibility for the treatment of their employees.In the short term, many workers whose rights are violatedmust use creative strategies to put pressure on both thecompanies and authorities who are responsible for thefulfilment of their rights.For workers who are employed by companies withinmultinational supply chains, approaching influentialinternational buyers or investors can be an effective wayto achieve fulfilment of their rights. Many globalcompanies, together with their investors, generate hugeprofits by outsourcing manufacturing to regions withlow labour costs. But as the UN framework stipulates,these companies cannot outsource their responsibilityto respect the human rights of workers employed in theiroverseas supply chains.The purpose of this toolkit is to provide support toworkers and worker organisations who are employed oroperate within global supply chains and have haddifficulty achieving fulfilment of their rights throughlocal or national means of redress alone. It aims tocomplement, but not replace, local advocacy byproviding some basic information about how workerscan use corporate accountability strategies to enhancetheir campaigns.To address the real causes of inequality and injustice,workers must have a say on corporate accountability andhuman rights at the international level. This toolkit givesworkers and labour organisations resources to combinetheir local experience, knowledge and networks withinternational advocacy strategies to strengthen theirvoice on the issues that impact upon them the most.

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