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close this bookAction Against Child Labour (ILO, 2000, 356 p.)
close this folder7. Trade unions against child labour
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTrade unions strengthen their capacity to address child labour issues
View the documentTrade unions support children, their families and communities
View the documentTrade unions raise awareness on child labour issues
View the documentTrade unions gather and disseminate data on child labour
View the documentTrade unions include child labour concerns in collective bargaining agreements
View the documentTrade unions advocate for codes of conduct
View the documentTrade unions work in partnership with NGOs, employers' organizations and governments
View the documentThe international trade union movement plays a major role

Trade unions advocate for codes of conduct

Codes of conduct were originally proposed in relation to the activities of multinational companies in the 1970s. In the past five or six years there has been an increasing interest in unilaterally adopted codes of conduct concerning labour practices by various companies (see Chapter 6, section 6.3.).

With the global sourcing of products, codes are becoming increasingly important. On the one hand, codes of conduct can be a company's response to consumer demand. On the other, their adoption is negotiated by trade unions to support basic trade union rights, including that of collective bargaining.

When negotiating a code of conduct, trade unions emphasize that codes need not be limited to cover child labour only, but should try to cover all aspects of core international labour standards. Codes should also include a provision for monitoring.

Codes of conduct, such as the two described below, are to be distinguished from corporate codes of conduct which are formulated by enterprises without negotiating with trade unions and which often do not cover all areas of core standards. Trade unions aim at achieving negotiated codes of conduct.