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effect, saying to workers or communities “you tell us the problem and we’ll dictate the answer” does not meet the grade.

Therefore, the mandate ran a lengthy consultative process to identify a set of principles such mechanisms should embody in order to be effective in practice. They are legitimacy, accessibility, predictability, equitability, rights- compatibility, transparency and—for company-level mechanism—a focus on dialogue and engagement, not adjudication. These principles and related guidance points are now being piloted by five companies on five continents.

There are doubtless many ways one can realize these principles in practice, tailored to sector, country, culture and other key factors. Nor do the

principles necessitate company that is small

a large and or has small

burdensome process for the company. impacts can craft something quite simple.


complex company with large potential impacts proportionately more sophisticated. Companies can also sector or region to pool resources.

will work

need something collaboratively by

Fundamental to our approach has been that grievance mechanisms, when not themselves union-management processes, must not undermine legitimate trade unions and effective social dialogue mechanisms. However, where legitimate unions are prohibited, an effective grievance mechanism may provide a vehicle to bring concerns about this very issue onto the table for discussion.

Our work has also mapped grievance mechanisms well beyond the operational level to encompass a growing range of other formulas for providing external adjudication or conciliation/mediation. In my current report to the Human Rights Council, I highlight the role that Global Framework Agreements can play in enabling both companies and unions to increase the reach and reduce the costs of grievance mechanisms. There are valuable lessons to be gained from how the GFA dispute resolution mechanisms are working in practice, and I hope this kind of analysis might be undertaken for the benefit of wider learning and more effective processes for all.


Let me bring these remarks to a close.

I noted at the outset that I look to the ILO for guidance on labor rights. One area where further guidance would be helpful is what has come to be known as “precarious work”—the growth in part-time and contract-based work, and its possible implications for workers’ rights. This subject has been raised in


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