Soda Labor Conditions Question 2

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Does the brand (company) have a policy to provide for fair labor conditions in low wage countries: 1) a formal employment relationship; 2) a maximum working week of 60 hours including paid overtime; 3) a living wage; and 4) to form and join labor unions and bargain collectively; and in those situations where these rights are restricted under law, to develop parallel means?

  • Dutch version: Heeft het merk beleid voor eerlijke arbeidsomstandigheden in lage loon landen: 1. een wettige arbeidsovereenkomst 2. een werkweek van maximaal 48 uren met vrijwillige, betaalde overuren tot 12 uren maximaal en 3. een leefbaar loon en 4. om te organiseren in een vakbond en collectief te onderhandelen, en gelijksoortige oplossingen te ontwikkelen wanneer deze rechten worden beperkt door de wet?
  • German version: Beinhaltet der Verhaltenskodex die folgenden Arbeitsrechte: 1. ein formell registriertes Arbeitsverhältnis 2. eine Arbeitswoche von maximal 60 Stunden inklusive bezahlter Überstunden 3. ein zum Leben ausreichendes Gehalt 4. das Recht einer Gewerkschaft beizutreten oder in Fällen gesetzlicher Einschränkungen andere Wege zu einer unabhängigen und freien Vereinigung zu fördern?

References and Guidelines

The first mentioned standard refers to employment security and is partly based on ILO Convention 158. The working week standard is based on the “maximum hours of work” ILO conventions nr. 1 and nr. 14.

The issue of ‘living wage’, based on ILO convention 131 (Minimum Wage Fixing) has historically been under discussion. Contribution to all discussion is the lack of proper guidelines that define ‘basic needs’ and ‘living wage’. Another contribution is that worker wages are directly linked to the purchase price that apparel and footwear brands are facing. To be clear, a living wage should cover "basic needs": food, water, and shelter, but also sanitation, education, and healthcare.

Despite the discussion stage that ‘living wage’ is in, some companies (e.g. those who are member of the Ethical Trading Initiative ETI, Fair Wear Foundation FWF and companies that follow SA8000) acknowledge this standard. We find it is important that companies endorse this labor right, as these companies implicitly and consequently agree to pay ‘fair prices’. Companies can be held accountable for this promise they make.

Concerning the labor union and collective bargaining standards (4th) in this question (referring to ILO conventions 87 and 98), please note that in countries like China there are certain legal restrictions on joining labor unions and collective bargaining, but alternatives are still possible. For the situations where these rights are restricted by law, the code should provide for parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining for all workers, as based on ILO Conventions 135 and 154 and Recommendation 143. For more references and additional answering guidelines, see Soda Labor Conditions Question 1. Please note that the Code of Conduct must apply not only to a brand’s own employees but also to its suppliers. In this sector, most suppliers are the farmers who provide raw materials; therefore a CoC must apply to them as well.

Also note that if a brand produces all its products in and sources all its raw materials from OECD countries only, a CoC is not necessary.

Please note that a ‘Yes’ is also applicable when: all the brand products/ingredients are made in ‘low risk’ countries, see the list as defined by Made By (see p.7). Or at least 30% of the production volume come from SA8000 certified factories.

Please make sure that this Code of Conduct is obliged for ALL employees: including own employees, employees from suppliers, employees at bottling companies and farmers.

Answering Guidelines

Answer Yes:
• All standards are mentioned in (brand) Code of Conduct (see page).
• All products are made in ... and sourced from …, which are low-risk countries as defined by Made-By.

Answer No:
• [... and ... is / are] mentioned. However, [... and ... is / are not mentioned].
• [Brand] provides a Code of Conduct (CoC), but this does not apply to its suppliers.

Answer ?:
• [Brand] mentions a Code of Conduct (CoC), but does not communicate the CoC on its website.
• [Brand] provides a Code of Conduct (CoC), but suppliers are only encouraged to comply with the CoC, not obliged.
• [Brand] does not communicate any information on a Code of Conduct (CoC) on its website. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.
• [Brand] does not communicate any information on a labor conditions policy on its website. Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.