UNI Global pitches for ILO Convention on supply chains

09 Jun '16
3 min read
Courtesy: UNI Global Union
Courtesy: UNI Global Union

UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings has urged delegates to back an ILO Convention on Supply Chains.

In his address at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Jennings criticised those who would oppose the Convention and described them as barriers to progress, contrasting them with UNI and its sister global union IndustriALL and the Bangladesh Accord. The Accord is regarded as a blueprint for change in supply chains.

Jennings said, “UNI Global Union and IndustriALL are proud of this achievement. The Accord has brought the world to change policy and practice on supply chains at this ILC.

“My emotions flow from the Rana Plaza tragedy of 2013. The race to the bottom evidenced in all its squalor and human desperation. Over 1,000 deaths. Families scarred by loss. Condemned by negligence. A supply chain based on lies, deception, corruption and a woefully inadequate local health and safety environment, with government and private employer complicity.

Jennings said the ILO was now itself standing at the crossroads on supply chains and is faced with a choice of global magnitude. The low road of avoiding responsibility to millions of workers who toil in the supply chain. Or a higher road to decent work.

“Don't blow this opportunity. Governments: demonstrate that you 'have the back' of your workforce. Don't accept foreign investment at any cost. The business community: show that it cannot be business as usual,” he told delegates.

Jennings condemned those who sought to unfairly criticise the Bangladesh Accord:

“The Bangladesh Accord has made progress on the ground. Independent. Transparent. Inclusive. Lives saved. Safety improving.

The ILO role was critically important and essential in the pursuit of compensation. The Bangladesh Government is an enemy of freedom of association and is now using its poisonous policy to eliminate a union presence in the IT sector.”

Jennings concluded by quoting Muhammed Ali, the legendary boxer who died at the weekend, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.

“So ILO 2016 don't shy away from the fight, YES to an ILO Supply Chain Convention. Let's make it happen.” (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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