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5 Jun, 2015

Multinational companies face trust deficit, Trade Union Confederation warns G7

Brussels, 4 June 2015 (ITUC OnLine):  Just one in five of people in western economies like France, Germany, the UK and the US agree that corporations can be trusted with their global workforce, according to a new poll commissioned by International Trade Union Confederation.

The public opinion poll released on the eve of the G7 summit in Germany comes amid growing political concern that multinational companies and international organisations like FIFA are ignoring agreements and breaking the rules.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said the G7 could play a critical role in strengthening the rule of law.

“G7 nations have laws that guarantee fundamental rights for workers in their own countries. They can guarantee equal treatment for workers in other countries where companies based in G7 countries operate, by extending the same rule of law beyond their boundaries.”

With the rise of global supply chains, accounting for three quarters of global trade, large corporations are employing workers around the globe in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey – but often indirectly through a chain of contractors.

“Citizens have made a plea to G7 leaders not to trust corporations to look after the world’s workforce. They don’t trust them to pay them a decent wage, they don’t trust them to respect their rights and they don’t trust them to take safety seriously,” said Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC poll on trust in companies and supply chains found:

* 55 % of respondents in France, Germany, the UK and the US believe most global companies can’t be trusted to look after their workers and tougher laws are needed;

* 80 % of respondent in Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey believe that most employers prioritise profits over safety of their workers;

* More than three quarters (78%) of people in Indonesia, the Philippines and Turkey believe that business should pay all their workers a decent minimum wage – no matter where they are.

“The vast majority believing these corporations can’t be trusted to look after their workers because they will prioritise profits over the interests of people, including the safety of their employees. This breakdown in trust places the onus back on governments to cooperate to hold these global giants to account for their workers,” said John Evans, General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.