Thursday, August 13, 2009


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

International Labour Office (ILO)
Multinational Enterprise Programme

ILO Helpdesk - Tel: +41.22.799.6264 - Fax: +41.22.799.6354 - Email

Helping companies to put decent work principles into practice

The ILO Helpdesk is a free and confidential service that can help your company align its operations with international labour standards and the ILO approach to socially responsible labour practices

[full-text, 4 pages]

What is the minimum age for a young person to undertake an apprenticeship involving night work? HOW can I know if workers in my supply chain are free to organize? What can we do to prevent trafficking of migrant labour? HOW can I help enterprises in my supply chain observe labour standards?
"What constitutes anti-union discrimination?" "I am a supplier to a multinational that tells me I must observe the terms of the MNE Declaration. Am I required to do this?"

Getting answers to these and many other questions is crucial to making informed decisions today about labour practices and industrial relations. But where to get them? A new service from the Multinational Enterprise Programme of the International Labour Office provides a onestop-shop to help company managers and workers understand the ILO approach to socially responsible labour practices and at the same time help enterprises build good industrial relations.

Who is the Helpdesk for?
The Helpdesk is available free of charge to managers and workers, as well as workers' and employers'
organizations. Its primary audience are the people who deal with day-to-day company operations and
supply chain management, and who develop private policies shaping those operations, particularly
concerning respect for workers' rights.

How does it help companies?
The Helpdesk deals with questions relating to international labour standards and draws on guidance
provided by the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the ILO MNE Declaration
and a range of other declarations, conclusions, guidelines, tools and other instruments. The Helpdesk
addresses how these instruments might guide company operations.

What kind of information does it provide?
The Helpdesk provides guidance only. It doesn't assess company compliance or endorse any company
or initiative, nor does it provide information on national labour laws or national industrial relations
practices. (For country-specific information, please consult national labour ministries and national
employers' and workers' organizations.)

How does it relate to ILO supervisory bodies?
The Helpdesk draws on the jurisprudence of ILO supervisory bodies, such as the Committee of Experts
on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations and the Committee on Freedom of Association,
as it relates to company operations. That makes it easier for business, trade unions and other nonspecialists
to understand the guidance. Questions concerning government responsibilities or specific
complaints of non-compliance should be addressed to the ILO Standards Department.

Who prepares the replies?
Replies are prepared by a multi-disciplinary team, ensuring that users receive a comprehensive
response. The Helpdesk is the entry point for companies to access the whole range of ILO expertise
concerning protection of workers' rights, sustainable enterprise development, conditions of work and
social safety nets, industrial relations, etc.

How long does it take to get a reply?
The Helpdesk can provide many responses within a day or two. For more complex questions, replies
may take longer. The Helpdesk aims to provide a reply to all enquiries within two weeks.

Can the Helpdesk be used by companies folowing the OECD Guidelines or involved in CSR initiatives such as the UN Global Compact?
The Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE
Declaration) is the point of reference for the ILO's work on CSR. The Declaration is the most detailed
instrument available to guide companies concerning economic and social development. The OECD
Guidelines, the principles of the UN Global Compact and codes of many other multi-stakeholder and
industry initiatives use the international labour standards as their main reference point for labour-related
CSR issues. Company managers and workers' organizations using the OECD guidelines or engaged
in an initiative are welcome to use the Helpdesk to find out more about the principles contained in
referenced international labour standards.

Where can I get more information?
ILO Helpdesk
Multinational Enterprises Programme
International Labour Office
4, route des Morillons
1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland
Tel: +41.22.799.6264
Fax: +41.22.799.6354

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       

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