Principles and guidelines for innovative worker training programmes

GoodElectronics and makeITfair have developed a set of principles and guidelines for innovative worker trainings focused on workers' empowerment.These principles and guidelines are the outcome of the work conference ‘Workers’ empowerment through training Complementary roles of trade unions, NGOs and Companies’ organised by GoodElectronics, makeITfair, Bread for All, SOMO and the Fair Trade Center on 25-26 November 2010, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Principles and guidelines for innovative worker training programmes

To address on-going reported labour rights issues in the global electronics industry various methods are applied, such as corporate supply chain sustainability programmes including auditing. Most of these approaches, however, are very top-down and stem from a traditional business model that does not allow for multi-stakeholder dialogue and meaningful involvement of workers. Freedom of association is not respected and collective bargaining as means to deal with labour issues is not much practiced. It is the firm belief of GoodElectronics and makeITfair that comprehensive worker training programmes are an important road to workers empowerment.

Some considerations:

The primary role of informing, organising and representing workers lies with trade unions. Other civil society organisations such as non-governmental labour groups can, however, play an important supporting role in empowering workers. To safeguard full and consistent compliance with labour rights, collective efforts of civil society organisations are required. Worker training is an area where trade unions and NGOs can complement each other.

The different parties involved in a worker trainings programme should have a say in the design, implementation, and follow-up activities, etc., of the programme. Civil society organisations need to make sure to be involved at all levels and phases of a training programme, to ensure quality and effectiveness. The parties need to agree upon detailed terms of reference (ToR) that cover all aspects concerning participation, partners, decision making, responsibilities, process & timeline, design, implementation, evaluation, follow-up of the training, etc. 

Compliance to the ILO labour standards on factory level is the explicit objective of any worker training programmes. In other words, worker training programmes should be rights-based and explicitly focused on empowerment.

Please find the complete document attached.