The second of FSC’s 10 Principles of responsible forest management deals with the rights and wellbeing of workers. The first Criteria of Principle 2 establishes the responsibility of the certified forest managers to uphold the international principles underpinning the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Ensuring the applicability of Principle 2 in the national context required an analysis of the current legislative landscape for workers’ rights in Australia, and comparing this against the scope and intent of the relevant ILO conventions set out in Criteria 2.1 (below). Given the complexity of this process, the SDG commissioned an expert, Professor Breen Creighton of RMIT University, to undertake this task. Professor Creighton was selected on the basis of his extensive knowledge and experience of Australian and International industrial relations law.
The report submitted to FSC Australia can be viewed here: https://goo.gl/Y4LVE9
Please note that the report is quite long! For those who are interested in understanding the context of the below indicators developed by the SDG, stakeholders are encouraged to view the table on page 101.
Criteria 2.1: The Organization* shall* uphold* the principles and rights at work as defined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) based on the eight ILO Core Labour Conventions. (C4.3 P&C V4)
The Eight ILO Core Labour Conventions are:
• 29 Forced Labour Convention, 1930
• 87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Conventions, 1948;
• 98 Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949;
• 100 Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951;
• 105 Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957;
• 111 Discrimination (Occupation and Employment) Convention, 1958;
• 138 Minimum Age Convention, 1973; and
• 182 Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999.
2.1 Indicators in Draft 3:
2.1 The Organisation* shall* uphold* the principles and rights at work as defined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) based on the eight ILO Core Labour Conventions. (C4.3 P&C V4)
2.1.1 The Organisation* and their Contractors shall comply with applicable national and state laws relating to freedom of association, rights to organise and collectively bargain, forced labour, minimum age, child labour, equal remuneration and workplace discrimination. (Adapted)
2.1.2 The Organisation* and their Contractors shall comply with legal requirements relating to minimum employee entitlements including but not limited to those set out in national legislation. (New)
2.1.3 The Organisation* and their Contractors shall have in place and comply with an anti-discrimination* policy that ensures workers are not disadvantaged or victimised. (New)
2.1.4 The Organisation* and their Contractors shall ensure that all forest workers are older than the minimum age of completion of compulsory school attendance. (New)
2.1.5 The Organisation* and their Contractors shall ensure all forest workers are engaged freely and are duly compensated for the work they perform. (New)
2.1.6 Worker’s representative organisations officials shall be provided with the appropriate access** and appropriate facilities** to allow them to properly deliver their functions and duties. (New)
**Guidance on ‘appropriate access’:
Appropriate access in this Standard recognises the right of workers’ representative organisations to meet with workers in the workplace. For these purposes, the organisation invites representatives of workers’ organisations into the workplace to meet their members. The workers representative must hold discussions or conduct interviews in rooms or areas of the premises agreed to with the occupier of the premises. If an agreement can’t be reached the discussions or interviews may be held in the room or area that is provided by the occupier for taking meals or other breaks.
The Organisation* retains the right to request that visiting representatives comply with any legitimate work health and safety (WHS) or occupational health and safety (OH&S) requirements, take a particular route to reach a particular room or area and allow the employer to go about their business without undue inconvenience. The Organisation* should endeavour to work with workers representatives in the spirit of this Standard and its preference for avoidance of legal conflict (see Criteria 1.6).
2.1.7 Workers* are able to establish or join labour organisations of their own choosing subject only to the rules of the labour organisation concerned. (New)
2.1.8 The Organisation* and their contractors shall* respect the rights of workers to take industrial action. (New)
In instances of industrial action by workers, The Organisation* and their contractors endeavour to work with workers and their representatives in the spirit of this Standard and its preference for avoidance of legal conflict (see Criteria 1.6).^ The Organisation* and their contractors will show restraint in exercising their rights to legal recourse in instances where industrial action is unprotected according to Australian Law, including by refraining to take out injunctions. The Organisation* and their contractors will treat industrial action^ as protected even when taken for the purposes of:
• Negotiating a Multi-enterprise agreement and/or
• Engaging in pattern bargaining in relation to an agreement.
• The undertaking of a sympathy action. That is, sympathy action where it relates to actions relevant to that Organisation and specific occupational objectives relevant to The Organisation’s* workers exclusively, rather than broader social and economic objectives.
^This indicator does not restrict employers from seeking compensation or legal recourse in instances of physical violence or destruction to physical property related to industrial action, which is not protected by the principles.
2.1.9 The Organisation* and their contractors, when bargaining shall do so in good faith and make their best effort to reach agreement. (New)
2.1.10 Agreements resulting from collective bargaining with formal and informal workers organisations* are implemented. (New)
2.1.11 The Organisation* and their contractors shall not undermine formal collective bargaining. (New)
1. The Organisation* and its contractors shall not engage in direct dealing with workers where it undermines formal and informal collective bargaining with workers and/or workers’ representative organisations.
2. The making of Informal agreements by The Organisation* or contractors, or new engagement of employers who have informal agreements with their workers, by The Organisation, in some circumstances, may be deemed to undermine formal collective bargaining*** if a majority of workers within an organisation seek to bargain at a wider level than was negotiated in the informal agreement.
*** Collective bargaining is possible at any level. (eg ‘the establishment, the undertaking, the branch of activity, the industry, or the regional or national levels’)