Automakers have the responsibility to ensure respect for the rights of workers not only directly within their own business operations, but also across their supply chains.
Ensuring respect for workers’ rights means implementing processes to identify, prevent, mitigate, account and remedy abuses of workers’ rights in their supply chain, in particular in relation to the ILO’s Five Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work:
- freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
- the effective abolition of child labour;
- the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and
- a safe and healthy working environment.
Beyond a commitment to, and recognition of, the relevant unions up the supply chain, companies should seek a positive relationship with the relevant trade unions as a core part of their processes to ensure that workers can join unions and collectively bargain without company interference, as well as to prevent, mitigate and remedy workers’ rights abuses, up to, and including, forced labor. For example, in the U.S., labor law permits employees to organize a labor union by majority sign-up of union authorization cards. Automakers should therefore agree to recognize and bargain in good faith with the union when a majority of workers sign the cards.
What can automakers do?
- Publicly commit to respecting workers’ rights, including specific commitments to each of the five ILO principles, and extend these commitments to their Tier 1 suppliers and beyond (for example, through their supplier codes of conduct and contractual arrangements with suppliers).
- Prohibit the payment of recruitment fees throughout their supply chain
- Publicly commit to a living wage
- Implement processes to assess and disclose salient workers’ rights risks in their supply chains, in consultation with trade unions.
- Actively collaborate with workers’ and their representative organization(s) of their own choosing to promote workers’ rights and prevent abuses in their supply chains.
- Develop processes to respond to non-conformances associated with its workers’ rights policy occurring in its operations or supply chains and work with relevant trade unions and/or worker representative organizations to verify the implementation of corrective actions pertaining to workers’ rights.
- Develop grievance and remedy mechanisms that formally include workers and their representative organizations