ATNC Monitoring Network Statement of Principles
Revised 3 September 2008
This Statement aims to be a common banner for Asian labour and social movement organisations in pursuit of better livelihood of workers and workers rights in Asian Transnational Corporations (ATNCs).
It is written and endorsed by the members of the ATNC Monitoring Network –workers, labour and social movement organisations within and between capital exporting and receiving countries in Asia.
Organisations which endorse this Statement will develop action plans to realise the articles of the Statement together and participate in activities in pursuit of the Statement. After an alliance-building process at the national level the plans will be implemented against individual corporations that violate the Statement using the action mechanisms developed by organisations and social alliance-building, rather than allowing TNCs to maintain unilateral ownership and implementation. This Statement is thus clearly distinguished from corporate codes of conduct.
The Statement is not meant to be a closed document, but a start-off point in a long-term process of building an Inter-Asia alliance that will:
strengthen solidarity between labour organisations and working people within the region,
regulate the destructive movement of Asian capital, and mobilising public support and
pressure against the exploitation of Asian TNCs.
It will be used as a strategic instrument to campaign for introducing national regulating laws and other public control mechanisms to regulate all ATNCs on the basis of its content and social support gained.
Article 1: General Policies
- Respect local labour laws as well as core ILO conventions in order to improve working and living conditions of workers.
- Assure that freedom of association and rights to collective bargaining are not violated by any means.
- Eliminate irregular and informal forms of employment that threaten workers’ livelihood and social development.
- Provide workers with a living wage and proper welfare benefits that are negotiated with workers’ representing bodies.
- Assure that their investments are socially benefiting the general public and community of the host countries of investment.
- Enact and pursue transparency and anti-corruption policies.
- Provide workers’ representing bodies with proper information about financial status of company.
- Prioritise compensation of workers when there is a bankruptcy, closedown or relocation.
- Guarantee rights of women workers and place clear gender policies that are aimed to promote equal opportunities.
- Pursue the best practices in eliminating Occupational Safety and Health hazards and environmental hazards by working with workers and community organisations.
- Oppose and condemn unequal trade relations and treaties between countries, be they unilateral, bilateral or multilateral.
- Assure their investment and labour practices meet the ATNC Monitoring Network Statement described hereby.
Article 2: Employment
- Eliminate the use of forced, compulsory or bonded labour in all forms as a method of mobilising and using labour for the purposes of economic development.
- Abolish child labour and raise the minimum age for admission to employment or work to a level consistent with the fullest physical and mental development of young persons.
- Guarantee equal opportunity regardless of workers’ sexual orientation, race, nationality, religion, age, political belief, marital status, or physical features1
2) Employment Contract
- Secure an employment relation supported with a valid written labour contract or other documentation with legal binding effect equivalent to the written labour contract.
- Proscribe offering and accepting informal and irregular contracts unless mutually agreed in absence of duress and/or otherwise agreed with trade unions or other forms of workers’ representing bodies.
- Ensure workers’ entitlement to regular and timely salary equivalent to a living wage that is negotiated with workers’ representing bodies.
- Monitor country-specific laws with respect to overtime payments and allowances and measure findings with recognised international labour standards.
- Desist from using performance-based payment and quotas
Article 3: Labour Relations and Working & Living Conditions
- Respect trade unions and other forms of workers’ representing bodies that are democratically elected by workers.
- Ensure that trade unions and other workers’ representing bodies are free from external interventions.
- Proscribe discrimination and disciplinary actions against union members.
- Ensure that company rules and regulations are applied without discrimination against workers’ involvement in trade union activities.
- Eliminate acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment.
- Respect workers’ right to take collective action to resolve grievances caused by actions that undermine workers’ livelihood or workers’ rights guaranteed by ILO’s international labour conventions.
- Guarantee timely response to unions’ requests to have negotiation between the company and/or the effective users of labour and workers.
- Ensure that issues generally subjected to collective bargaining are not unilaterally defined by management but by principled negotiation.
- Respect internationally recognised workers’ rights to collective bargaining, collective actions and freedom of association without regard to the local legal restraints against workers’ rights.
3) Working and living conditions
- Ensure that every worker has the right to a weekly rest period and annual paid leave, including guaranteed maternity and paternity leave.
- Ensure that workers work for a maximum of 8 hours a day with no excessive overtime.
- Should there be any changes in work intensity based on the average skill, education and experience, workers should be given notice and employers should fully disclose any conditions attached to the changes. Such changes should be accepted based on mutual agreement with workers and workers’ representing bodies without undue influence.
- Ensure workers have a safe and hygienic work environment. Employers should remove any potential OSH hazard through regular investigation and also provide regular non-intrusive health checks against any potential OSH illness.
- Promote workers’ education and encourage workers’ participation in hazard prevention education.
- Guarantee protection of women workers from harassment.
- Guarantee safe transportation and decent accommodation for workers.
Article 4: Movement of Capital
- Investment with social justice
- Desist from attempts to gain profits from speculative investment that undermines the livelihood of workers and the community.
- Desist from attempts to exploit the natural, human, social, cultural resources without benefiting the general public of the host country of investment.
- Uphold the human, labour, environmental, and cultural rights of the general public of the host countries of investment. Prevent environmental hazard by following the best practice in the host country of investment and in accordance with local laws and regulations.
- Work with community and relevant community-representing bodies in preventing environmental hazard and other hazard that causes destructive impact on the livelihood of community.
- Keep the best practice of transparency regarding the timely, regular, reliable disclosure of company information, including that of activities, structure, financial situation and performance.4
- Desist from exercising discrete financial or political influence over the local authority to pursue improper economic and political benefits as well as to keep the best practice in anti-corruption.5
- Desist from intervening in democratically-motivated political development in the host country of investment.6
- Desist from any attempt to seek exemptions from local and international regulations related to human and labour rights, environment protection and sustainable development.7
- Work with external bodies that are invited or appointed by community representing bodies to do investigation over particular hazard in order to pursue the best practice of hazard preventions.
- Relocation and closing-down
- Disseminate regularly the financial status of company to the representatives of workers.8
- Inform changes in operations which are deemed to have major effects upon the livelihood of workers, such as bankruptcies, voluntary close-down and relocation, before the final decision is taken.
- Responsibly respond to the request of union or other effective workers’ representing bodies to submit information about company management that is deemed to be having important impact on workers’ livelihood.
- Process voluntary close-down and relocation in accordance with the legally approved process.
- Publicise any plan of company relocation at least 90 days in prior.
- Process voluntary close-down and relocation only after fulfilling company’s obligations to workers as agreed in a/the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
- Prioritise compensation of workers when there is any closure of a corporate entity, including bankruptcies, voluntary close-down, and relocation.
- Regard the best practice of compensation in the same industrial sector9 in the host country of investment as the basis for workers’ compensation if no CBA or negotiation follows
- Make best efforts to reemploy workers in former establishments with effective service-year in case of voluntary close-down involving a new opening in the same territory.
- Negotiate compensation amount and methods with the union and other effective workers’ representing bodies unless otherwise expressed in CBA.
- Work with external bodies that are invited or appointed by trade union or other forms of workers’ representing bodies to investigate disputed issues of legitimate closing-down in order to pursue the best practice.