EuroCommerce and Euro-Fiet Agreement on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work, Brussels 6 August 1999


EuroCommerce, the European association representing the interests of the employers in the European retail, wholesale and foreign trades, and Euro-FIET, representing workers in European commerce, convened within the European Social Dialogue, firmly support the aim of a world wide improvement of social standards.

The parties to this Joint Statement also want to lend their support to innovative measures aimed at promoting fundamental rights at work world-wide.

The parties to this Joint Statement acknowledge that while large companies are able to apply more direct measures to avoid dealing with products that are manufactured in violation with core labour standards, than small and medium sized companies, the same general objectives apply to all.

The parties agree to work towards a European commerce sector that is productive, internationally competitive and based on the respect of both employers and workers.

* * *

Having regard the March 1996 EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET statement on combating child labour,

Having regards to the June 1998 EuroCommerce recommendation on Social Buying Conditions, covering child, forced and prison labour,

Given the willingness of the parties to further promote the respect of the fundamental principles of human rights, notably as embodied in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration of 18 June 1998 on the fundamental rights and principles at work.

ARTICLE 1: Scope

EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET recommend to their members to actively encourage companies and workers of the European commerce sector to comply, whenever possible, with the following fundamental rights, embodied in ILO Conventions1, including developing their own Codes of Conduct for their business relations with third countries:

1. the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;

2. the effective abolition of child labour;

3. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation; and

4. freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

ARTICLE 2: Promotion and Dissemination

2.1 EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET shall promote and disseminate this Joint Statement.

2.2 EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET recommend to their respective member organisations to endorse this Joint Statement and to encourage its implementation.

ARTICLE 3: Implementation and Assessment

3.1 EuroCommerce and Euro-FIET will regularly discuss the implementation of this Joint Statement. On the basis of the discussion on its implementation, the parties will, in the framework of their European Social Dialogue, evaluate the implementation and, if necessary, make recommendations or undertake any relevant actions.