18 februari 2006
Monitor reveals improved social policies of Dutch multinationals
Most of these multinationals have cooperated for the second time in the research project of the Netherlands' largest trade union federation FNV. The FNV Company Monitor, initiated in 2003, aims to improve social policies of Dutch companies in developing and transitional countries, with a special focus on the role of trade unions.
The results of the present research, performed in branches in Peru, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Czechia, Croatia and Poland, are still under embargo, but project coordinator Karen Brouwer is willing to unveil some general conclusions.
Brouwer: "You will not find child or forced labour in the factories of Dutch companies. That's for sure. And we can notice that companies are improving their corporate social responsibility. But in many cases we also notice a fundamental lack of consultation between the company and the trade unions. And if trade unions feel neglected or not recognized, this is harmful to the relationship with the companies."
She acknowledges that companies are often confronted with a large variety of small unions, which is a complicating factor. "Nevertheless, we have seen in Brazil, for example, that during our project companies started inviting small unions more often. This also leads to better contacts between the unions and gives them a stronger position."
The research methodology has been developed together with SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations). The topics cover the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Local researchers have investigated twenty branches.
Karen Brouwer is pleased with the cooperation of the multinationals: "The cooperation went smoother than the first time. Mutual confidence has grown, and companies now trust that the research is independent, and is not meant to accuse them. We do not publish the results without consulting them first."
Company monitor FNV