40th Anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
TUAC and OECD Watch have started a 40-day count-up to mark the 40th anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and are calling on governments and the OECD to step up measures to ensure businesses respect the Guidelines, so that the Guidelines fulfil their potential to defend communities’ and workers' rights.
The Guidelines were first signed by 24 OECD member countries on the 21 June 1976. Since then, the number has almost doubled with 46 signatory governments, including 12 from non-OECD countries. Under binding rules these governments are required to establish National Contacts Points (NCPs) to promote the Guidelines and handle cases of violations of the Guidelines submitted by trade unions and NGOs.
As the major international grievance mechanism for workers and communities to defend their rights, NCPs have a unique responsibility to carry out their role effectively. Yet too many NCPs are still failing to meet this responsibility.
“NCPs are failing in their mandate. Governments need to step it up if NCPs are to provide victims with remedies for harms from corporate abuses and to bring about changes in corporate behaviour,” said Dr Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, Coordinator of OECD Watch.
In 2015, NCP performance came under political scrutiny with G7 Leaders and OECD Ministers promising to take steps to strengthen NCP performance as part of commitments made to support responsible business conduct including in global supply chains.
“This is a period of unprecedented political significance for the Guidelines and a unique opportunity to strengthen the effectiveness of the OECD Guidelines, which governments and the OECD should not waste”, said John Evans, TUAC General Secretary.
TUAC and OECD Watch are calling on governments to take immediate action to strengthen their NCPs, including by introducing consequences – sanctions – for companies that refuse to participate in the Guidelines, such as withdrawing export credits or other forms of public support. They are also calling on the OECD to revise the rules governing the functioning of NCPs.
For more information on OECD Watch's and TUAC's positions see the following publications: