Published: 23/11/2010

IUF general secretary Ron Oswald, a representative group of IUF affiliates from the IUF regions, staff of the general and regional secretariats and a representative of ICEM met with corporate and regional level management (including CEO Paul Polman) of Unilever in London November 15-16 to continue their dialogue on key issues including employment policy and trade union rights.

The global IUF-Unilever dialogue was initiated last year in response to tough, protracted conflicts involving outsourcing, casualization and trade union rights after the IUF had made a series of submissions to the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines involving India and Pakistan. Both IUF and Unilever are committed to seeking a framework for resolving these issues before they escalate.

Issues included in the wide-ranging discussion included: employment policy in relation to Unilever’s sustainability goals and the company’s strong endorsement of the rights framework developed by the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie; outsourcing/co-packing viewed from Unilever’s supply chain obligations and commitments; and concrete mechanisms for resolving conflicts involving fundamental rights issues, including still unresolved conflicts in the Asian region.

Both sides affirmed their strong support for the ongoing dialogue; a third meeting will take place within 6 months.