Dinner on Responsible Business Conduct and Labour Related issues
On the 10th of April, the Permanent Representation (PR) of the Netherlands to the OECD, hosted a dinner on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) and Labour Related issues. During dinner, an informal exchange of views between speakers, discussants, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee (ELSAC) delegates and G-20 representatives took place.
After opening remarks by Ms. Marjoleine Hennis, Social Affairs and Employment Counsellor of the Permanent Representation, Mr. Aart Jan Bette, Head of the International Affairs Division of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, explained the Dutch view on decent work in global value chains via a multi-stakeholder approach. In this approach, social dialogue, shared responsibility and coherence are key.
Mr. Jürgen Thomas, who is deputy director of the OECD desk at the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, explained the emphasis that the German G20 presidency puts on sustainable supply chains against the background of the opportunities and the possible adverse risks of globalization and world trade.
Mr. Roel Nieuwenkamp, chair of the OECD Working Party on RBC, spoke about the importance of the National Contact Point (NCP) system, that functions as a global grievance mechanism on labour and social issues for persons, communities, trade unions and NGO’s. He emphasized the importance of involving the ministries of Social Affairs and social partners into the NCP system.
The Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Stefano Scarpetta highlighted the need of a strategy for implementation within the OECD, G20 and the ILO.
After this first round of four speakers, three discussants were up for round two. Mr. Robert Kyloh (ILO), Ms. Garance Pineau (vice-chair of the Employment Commission of BIAC and representative of MEDEF) and Mr. John Evans (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD) agreed on the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach and strived for a level playing field without large groups of workers losing out. Although the magic solution was not found over dinner, there was consensus amongst the participants about the need for cooperation and more coherence internationally. Between different stakeholders, there seemed to lay a promising basis for future plans of closer cooperation, such as in the form of a joined ELSAC-RBC session.