The rights to adequate and decent working conditions include a large array of human rights including the right to freedom of association, living wage, equal opportunity and protection against all forms of discrimination, health and safety, among many others.
As a result, adverse impacts on working conditions cover a wide range of issues, from wages, excessive hours and unequal pay for work of equal value to exposure to dangerous chemical agents and unsafe factory environments. For example, in 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed with 3,500 garment workers inside, killing 1,129 and a further 2,500 were seriously injured. In 2014, six hundred workers of the Korean Master Sport Shoe factory in Myanmar went on strike over grievance regarding wages and leave.
Investors should call on companies to act with due diligence to ensure that working hours are limited to 48 per week by both company policy and practice, or fewer if provided by national law, collective agreement or industry standards; provide workers with a living wage sufficient to meet basic food, clothing and housing needs and provide some discretionary income for themselves and their dependents; and all workers are provided, free of charge or deposits, with the protective equipment necessary to safely perform their job functions.
- Guidelines for the Evaluation of Workers’ Human Rights and Labour Standards, Committee on Workers' Capital, 2017.
- Committee on Workers' Capital
- International Labor Standards, International Labour Organization (ILO).