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In 2012 UNI Global Union (UNI) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) lodged a complaint against Deutsche Post DHL with the German National Contact Point (NCP) of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development).
The NCP promotes, among other things, the voluntary OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies, which comprises recommendations for the responsible conduct of companies. One of the points of the complaint was that Deutsche Post DHL was making ‘excessive use of agency workers’, and that this was in breach of the OECD Guidelines, which safeguards workers’ rights.
The OECD has rejected the complaint from the trade union that agency workers are being used to avoid the recruitment of employees who could be active in a union.
In a statement, the OECD said: “As for the alleged deployment of agency workers, the NCP considered that the deployment of agency workers does not represent a direct violation of the OECD Guidelines or other internationally applicable standards. Deployment of agency workers is not expressly prohibited under the OECD Guidelines, nor is its extent regulated. Similarly, the internationally recognised human rights and the International Labour Organisation Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of 1998 (core labour standards) do not contain any provisions in this regard. Convention 181 on Private Employment Agencies (…) does not prohibit or quantitatively restrict the employment of agency workers. To the NCP there were no hints to a widespread use of agency workers – and thus an intention to refuse regular pay or avoid trade union rights, either. Therefore, the NCP did not accept the complaint for further evaluation on this account.”
The statement from the OECD has been welcomed by Ciett (Confederation of Private Employment Agencies), Managing Director Denis Pennel commented: “Ciett fully supports the notion that all workers, including agency workers, deserve decent pay and social benefits. As a consequence, it is good to see that the OECD rejected the alleged claim from the unions that agency workers could be used to avoid having to pay regular wages and employment of workers that could be active in a union. Agency work should be recognised as an embodiment of decent work, and agency workers have the same right to decent pay and union membership.”