A recent survey by Oxfam Hong Kong showed that more than 81 percent of Hong Kong residents would be “less inclined to patronise a company that violated the rights and interests of its employees.” The survey comes just weeks before the statutory minimum wage goes into effect May 1. According to Oxfam, some companies may cancel paid meal breaks and eliminate rest days to counter the cost of paying the minimum wage.
The United Nations Global Compact recently launched the Human Rights and Business Dilemma Forum, an initiative designed to stimulate constructive discussion about perceived dilemmas that socially responsible multinational companies may face in their efforts to respect and support human rights when operating in emerging economies.
On April 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service announced the opening of the public comment period on recommendations – made by the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products – for voluntary private-sector monitoring and verification of child labor and forced labor in supply chains.
In February, FLA President & CEO Auret van Heerden participated in a workshop – Company Responsibilities in Countries with Human Rights Challenges – organized by the Business Humanitarian Forum and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Washington, DC – The Fair Labor Association (FLA) today announced the selection of Kathryn “Kitty” Higgins as Chair of its Board of Directors. Ms. Higgins joins the FLA Board with over four decades’ experience in the public and private sectors.
On March 17, FLA published a paper by ASOCIACIÓN SERVICIOS DE PROMOCIÓN LABORAL on social protection for apparel and footwear workers in Central America. The target countries in the study were Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua – which have seen an estimated 20% decrease in employment in this sector over the past three years caused by the financial crisis in the United States and an increased shift of apparel and footwear production to Asian countries.
Most corporate social responsibility work on wages has focused on whether a workplace meets a certain level of compensation, usually the legal minimum wage. But fairness of wages and, crucially, perception of wage fairness, are more complex than that. Even if a factory pays workers the national minimum wage and meets other legal requirements (e.g. pay the legally-required wage on time and in full; pay for the proper number of hours worked) it may nevertheless have unfair wages because of undue disparities in wages within the enterprise or because wages may not reflect worker productivity.