Stepping up multinational corporations’ responses to Covid-19



Stepping up multinational corporations’ responses to Covid-19


[Update 17.04.2020: a supplementary set of joint recommendations by all European trade union federations on compliancy processes regarding the postponing works council meeting has been published. You can consult them in English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish.]


UNI Europa, has published a set of recommendations to help trade union alliances and European works council members to build workplace protection and ultimately save lives.

As the pandemic takes hold across countries, in particular in Europe, it is clear that responses must increasingly be coordinated across borders. With their presence across different countries, multinational corporations provide platforms from which to build an effective cross-border response.

Service sector unions have two main avenues to coordinate their multinational-level work: trade union alliances and works councils. UNI Europa has reached out to worker representatives in both to provide guidance.

On trade union alliances, sharing experience is key. UNI Europa’s Covid-19 trade union alliance recommendations outlines seven thematic areas on which to build best practice and common demands, including health and safety, third party violence and temporary redundancies.

On the works councils front, UNI Europa has teamed up with the other European trade union federations to provided works council representatives concrete examples of best practice at each step. The joint recommendations highlight both the need for action and practical guidance as to how to push things forward, covering:

  1. Postpone annual/ordinary and negotiation meetings
  2. Request an online extraordinary meeting on COVID-19
  3. Request regular updates from management on COVID-19 in writing
  4. Share information about the situation in each country between yourselves
  5. Urge management to deal with the crisis on the basis of social dialogue
  6. Request a physical extraordinary meeting to take place as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over
  7. Contact your European trade union federation

“We need a race to the top. In many countries workers are driving best practice breakthroughs and it is urgent that these be brought to workplaces across the continent. While the different regulatory environments in different countries have allowed some corporations to play workers across those countries off against each other, this cannot happen now.

“Safe workers save lives and multinationals must play their part to flatten this curve. Together with UNI at global level and the other trade union federations in Europe, we are reaching out to multinational companies to jointly provide a strong transnational response to the crisis,” said Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.

See the full recommendations here (also available in French, German, Italian and Spanish).

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