Picking up where we left off . . . Section Two, where the core values pertaining to labor are addressed:
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
The majority of principles are contained in this section, as labor is considered focal point of an active company. In relation to principle 3, overall trends show that employee satisfaction improves when common interest and needs are negotiated within a company. This satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) can be publicly advertised affecting corporate social responsibility for not acting in the interests of the employed. Gap, a US-based company, saw a reduction in employee strikes and a 90% decrease in escalation to higher management when they adapted and strengthened collective bargaining.
To enforce principle 4 is to advocate for the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor and encourage mental, physical and emotional stability- fulfilling adherence to principles to 1 and 2. With the questionable act against well-being, corporate social responsibility can be threatened. Human trafficking is a significant issue relating to this principle and has become a global endeavor to eliminate this epidemic.
Similarly, principle 5 calls for the effective abolition of child labor. Coming from an international psychology perspective, I found that it is important to remain culturally aware when processing this principle. Understanding that in some societies it is essential to employ children for extra-familial and economical support, principle 5 addresses circumstances in which child labor may be acceptable. Danish company Eurotex Apparel Ltd., of the personal goods industry, allows for employment of 14-18-year-olds in its Bengali factories with the mutual understanding that attendance of formal vocational training and adhering to operational guidelines is mandatory.
Principle 6 addresses the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Also a human right, principle 6 places value on the skill set of a person as a human and not the stereotypes that label them. As companies hold a strong public influence, it is important that equality is displayed through the acknowledgment of competence rather than demographic marker. It is their corporate social responsibility to emphasize global views of equality in the practice of their business. For example, in Egypt, Chemical Industries Development, a pharmaceutical company, promotes equal pay for both genders.
Specific to labor, principles 3 through 6, show value in integrity for corporate practices and social responsibility. Seeing as how CSR is related to employee retention, labor practices are key to sustainable business development. Closing the UNGC series out will be the last four principles related to environment and anti-corruption. Thanks for following along!