In an unprecedented showing of co-ordinated action representatives of workers across the global Wal Mart supply chain have collaborated to develop and launch a no-nonsense outline of simple to follow core principles to enable the multinational to meet key labour standards.
I wrote earlier this year of a similar focus on fire safety which had been driven largely by the factory fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan in 2012. Here however, labour movement organisations have looked right across the history of Wal Mart's poor approach to employment and working conditions to generate a set of standards applicable globally and rooted in a wide variety of gross breaches of rights and other violations of basic and human rights.
The news of the meeting has been reported in several forums and as ever the coverage supplied by those behind the Labour is not a Commodity blog and International Labour Righs Forum is to be welcomed. For this blog though I'd like to draw on the coverage supplied by a relatively new US-based labour movement body, Warehouse Workers United (http://www.warehouseworkersunited.org).
Wal Mart is facing pressure currently on a number of fronts, not least domestic arising from the series of wildcat strikes carried out by their own workers in late 2012 and reported in this blog. The most consistent form of pressure on the multinational has however come from the labour movement globally and so the meeting on 9th April leaves Wal Mart yet a further headache.
At this meeting were represenatives of the National Guestworker Alliance, Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity, Warehouse Workers United, New Labor, Warehouse Workers for Justice and Jobs with Justice. Strategically this event coincided with the arrival in the US of Bangladeshi workers who have survived the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh last year. These workers are here to press the case for the adoption of the Wal Mart labour code with senators and representatives in a series of meetings in April.
The WWU coverage of this development is well worth reading and if you follow this link you'll also be able to read the detail of the proposed code. Over the next few months I'll be following the progress of this work and will write this up for the blog: http://www.warehouseworkersunited.org/global-supply-chain-workers-pressure-walmart-to-get-serious-about-labor-conditions/
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Posted by Ian Manborde at 05:34