Swedwatch reports Electrolux to the Swedish NCP in order to ascertain whether the company is complying with the OECD Guidelines. The complaint concerns anti-union measures taken by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Thailand following wage negotiations of workers at its Rayong plant in 2013.
After increase of the minimum wage level in Thailand in 2012, causing new and more experienced workers to earn the same wage, the local trade union started negotiations with Electrolux regarding adjustment of salaries based on seniority. The complaint alleges that negotiations did not result in adjustment of salaries, but instead that through its actions Electrolux Thailand has violated the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining of workers at the Electrolux Rayong plant in Thailand. These actions include the removal and immediate suspension of the chairperson of the local trade union, detaining protesting workers against their will, terminating nearly a hundred employees and, conducting legal proceedings in order to terminate additional union representatives which participated in the demonstration.
Swedwatch asks the company to follow the OECD Guidelines; withdraw the lawsuit against the suspended trade union members and allow them to return to work; carry through a verbal decision to offer the terminated employees reemployment at equally good conditions; and improve its guidelines and mechanisms for dealing with workers’ complaints and negotiation routines.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Chapter I
- Chapter I Paragraph 2
- Chapter II
- Chapter II Paragraph A5
- Chapter IV
- Chapter IV Paragraph 1
- Chapter V
- Chapter V Paragraph 1 a
- Chapter V Paragraph 1 e
- Chapter V Paragraph 3
In response to the allegations, Electrolux publicly dismissed the claims and said it had not breached the Guidelines.
In September 2013, the NCP rejected both complaints. The NCP said that the ongoing dialogue between Electrolux and the trade unions was the main reason for its rejection and that the parties should find a solution in this process.
The NCP also accepted Mölnlyckes argument that a social dialogue had been initiated between local management and trade unions and that the specific conflict had ended after workers and union members accepted settlements.
Swedwatch said that after the complaints were filed, the social dialogue with the companies led to improvements in the labour conditions at the factories.
In November 2013, the NCP hosted a follow-up meeting with Swedwatch, Electrolux, and Mönlycke. The NCP reiterated its decision not to formally take on the cases because both companies had taken action to improve the situation. The NCP also said it would monitor developments.
In June 2014, Swedwatch noted that a report by the Swedish union, IF Metall, states that the Electrolux plant still does not have any union representatives because the workers are afraid to organise.