Many young MBAs have to be reminded that citizens of India are guaranteed Freedom of Association. What it means is that employees of an organisation have a right to join a union. It surely includes a right not to join a union.
The MNCs are so wary of the five letter word 'Union' that many of them adopt appeasement policies. Their HR Managers flaunt 'no union' status as if they are employer of choice. Far from it.
The union phobia is not peculiar to India as we discover now. Take a look at the Human Rights Watch report. It says that "Many European companies that publicly embrace workers' rights under global labor standards nevertheless undermine workers' rights in their US operations"
I am reproducing an excerpt :
In researching the actions of European companies, Human Rights Watch found:
T-Mobile had characterized employees' "talking about rights" as dangerous activity to be reported immediately to management;
DHL management threatened and discriminated against workers who tried to organize;
Tesco management sought to muzzle workers' communication among themselves about unions;
Sodexo threatened, interrogated, and fired workers who tried to form a union;
The Dutch Gamma Holding company hired permanent replacements, in contravention of international standards but not of US law, to take the jobs of workers who exercised the right to strike.
The website also has published the responses of the companies that make interesting reading.
Do take a look.
Labels: Freedom of Association, ILO Standards violation