ILO MNE Declaration provides guidance to responsible business and decent work

The Senior Specialist and Manager of the ILO Helpdesk for Business presents the importance of the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) on inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices to Indonesian companies and business associations.

News | Bali, Indonesia | 05 October 2023
Workers of one of the Indonesian electronics companies. (c) ILO/Asrian Mirza
The ILO’s Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) is the only ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises (multinational and national) on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices. The MNE Declaration has been adopted more than 40 years ago and have been amended several times with the recent amendment in 2022.

“It is the only global instrument in this area and the only one that was elaborated and adopted by governments, employers and workers from around the world,” Emily Simms, Senior Specialist and Manager of the ILO Helpdesk for Business, stated online before the representatives of electronic companies, the Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) participated at the ILO’s three-day training on responsible business and decent work in Indonesia.

Its principles are, therefore, addressed to multinational and national enterprises, governments of home and host countries, and employers’ and workers’ organizations providing guidance in such areas as employment, training, conditions of work and life, industrial relations as well as general policies."

Emily Simms, Senior Specialist and Manager of the ILO Helpdesk for Business
Held in Bali from 20-22 September, the training programme was jointly organized with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Government of Japan. The training programme promoted the ILO’s MNE Declaration as well as an ILO study on the electronics industry in Indonesia and its integration into global supply chains.

Emily explained that the aim of the Declaration is to encourage the positive contribution which multinational enterprises can make to economic and social progress and the realization of decent work for all, as well as to minimize and resolve the difficulties to which their various operations may give rise.

“Its principles are, therefore, addressed to multinational and national enterprises, governments of home and host countries, and employers’ and workers’ organizations providing guidance in such areas as employment, training, conditions of work and life, industrial relations as well as general policies,” she added.

She addressed the guidance provided by the Declaration in five areas as follows:
  • General policies
    • Govenrments
    • Enterprises
    • Fundamental principles and rights at work
    • Due diligence
    • Consultations between home and host country government
  • Employment
    • Employment promotion
    • Formal sector
    • Social security
    • Elimination of forced or compulsory labour
    • Effective abolition of child labour: minimum age and worst forms
    • Equality of opportunity and treatment
    • Security of employment
  • Training
    • National policies for vocational training and guidance, closely linked to employment.
    • Training and lifelong learning opportunities
  • Conditions of work and life
    • Wages, benefits and conditions of work
    • Occupational safety and health
  • Industrial relations
    • Freedom of association and the right to organize
    • Collective bargaining
    • Consultation
    • Access to remedy and examination of grievances
      • Settlement of Industrial disputes
She also highlighted that the Declaration is founded substantially on principles contained in international labour standards. It emphasizes the importance of dialogue and consultations among the different parties to ensure inclusive, sustainable, responsible business behaviour of MNEs in host countries and compatibility with national development objectives and policies.

“It encourages home and host country governments of MNEs to engage in consultations with each other as well as with their enterprises on social and labour policy,” she continued.

Emily ended her presentation by demonstrating linkage of the MNE Declaration with other global instruments of Responsible Business, including to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) that includes human rights due diligence (HRDD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “In addition, the ILO is also committed to inter-institutional dialogue to promote policy coherence among international development organizations,” she concluded.

For further information about the ILO MNE Declaration, please click here.