The meeting, organised by the UN's human rights office on 25 October, is working on the elements of the proposed ‘international instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises’.
Representatives from the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Organisation of Employers are effectively rejecting the very idea of a legally binding instrument.
ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “Multinationals operate in a legal void, due to their global reach. Unchecked there continue to be abuses and violations of workers’ rights.
“We urge the employers not to stand in the way of multinationals being held to account for exploitation of workers in their operations. A UN treaty would bring their actions under international law and deliver fairness and justice to workers.”
ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow added that the multi-billion dollar voluntary corporate social responsibility industry had delivered nothing for millions of workers in global supply chains who experience unsafe and insecure work with poverty wages.
Read the joint ITF and ITUC statement to the UN meeting in full.
The UN process towards a treaty is complementary to a parallel process at the International Labour Organization (ILO) that the ITF advocated in 2016. This aims to achieve an international standard on decent work in global supply chains. Read more.