Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
the effective abolition of child labour; and
eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
The four labour principles of the Global Compact are taken from the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This Declaration was adopted in 1998 by the International Labour Conference, a yearly tripartite meeting that brings together governments, employers and workers from 177 countries. The Declaration calls upon all ILO Member States to apply the principles in line with the original intent of the core Conventions on which it is based. Consensus now exists that all countries, regardless of level of economic development, cultural values, or ratifications of the relevant ILO Conventions, have an obligation to respect, promote, and realize these fundamental principles and rights. At the G8 Meeting in Evian, France, in 2003, the leaders of the industrialized world encouraged companies to work with other parties to implement the Declaration.
The Principles and Rights identified in the ILO Declaration comprise the labour portion of the Global Compact. They are:
- to promote and realize in good faith the right of workers and employers to freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- to work towards the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;
- the effective abolition of child labour; and
- the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
The aim of the ILO is to harness the support of the business community for these principles through the Global Compact. The labour principles deal with fundamental principles in the workplace and the challenge for business is to take these universally accepted values and apply them at the company level.