International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)

Resolution on trade and labour rights and the world trade organization

The IUF/BSN Joint Declaration on Trade Union Rights

The IUF/Accor agreement on Trade Union Rights



The 23rd IUF Congress meeting in Geneva, April 15-18, 1997:

Noting that for the first time the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade dealt with agriculture, which proved to be one of the most problematic areas;

Recognising that the agreement reached in the Uruguay Round will greatly encourage trade liberalisation and will consequently have serious implications for agricultural commodities. For example, in Latin America, most commodities for export already have no subsidy and therefore have to compete on unequal terms with subsidised Northern hemisphere agricultural products;

Noting that the four main decisions of the Uruguay Round for agriculture are:

  • the conversion of all types of non-tariff barriers (e.g. quotas, levies, licensing) into tariffs;
  • a reduction over 6 years of all tariffs by 36% of their 1968-88 level, with a minimum of 15% for each tariff item. Developing countries are to reduce tariffs by 24% over a 10 year period;
  • a reduction of domestic support by 20% over 5 years for developed countries and 13.3 % in developing countries;
  • a reduction of 21% in the volume of items benefiting from export subsidies and a lowering of 36% of export subsidies expenditure between 1995-2000.

Further noting that the WTO Committees concerned with agricultural issues are:

  • the Committee on Agriculture;
  • the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures;
  • the Council on Trade-related Intellectual property - which it is believed will support the attempts of TNCs to gain even greater control of the world’s seed resources by granting more patents to seeds;
  • the Committee on Trade and Environment.

Acknowledging that researchers believe that consequences of the Uruguay Round in general terms will be:

  • more international competition between the various producing countries which will create downward pressure on prices with consequent implications for agricultural employment and increased insecurity for rural workers generally;
  • governments will loose their remaining influence on national food policies, which could have implications for national food security issues;
  • many small farmers will be marginalised and/or driven from their land.

Further noting the decision of the WTO Ministerial Conference, Singapore, December 9-13, 1996 to reject suggestions to link international labour standards to trade issues despite the commitment of governments at the Singapore meeting to a final statement which included text on renewing the commitment of governments to "the observance of internationally recognised core labour standards", plus the statement that "The International Labour Office (ILO) is the competent body to set and deal with these standards, and we [ governments] affirm our support for its work in promoting them".

This 23rd IUF Congress resolves:




BSN and the IUF:


recalling the fundamental right of each employee to be represented and defended by the trade union organization of her/his choice;

affirming that the counterweight represented by the trade union organisations contributes to the respect of the needs and aspirations of the workforce by company executives

mutually recognizing the legitimacy of each party and their right to participate in the social as well as economic spheres, each mindful of their respective responsibilities as far as these conform with laws, collective agreements or other contractual agreement in effect;

are convinced that reinforcing democratic forms of co-operation in the enterprise is the responsibility of both parties, and that this implies the recognition of divergent approaches and differences in judgement as well as the search for negotiated solutions;

note that achieving this objective requires efforts to provide economic and social education and information to the entire workforce as well as their representatives to better understand the problems, the limitations faced by the company, and what it has at stake;

In this spirit, BSN and the IUF undertake to:


Monitor proper compliance throughout all BSN subsidiaries with ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 135, which concern respectively:

  • the right of all employees to join the trade union organization of their choice;
  • the right of all workers to be free from any act of discrimination leading to the restriction of trade union rights;
  • the protection of all workers' representatives from all prejudicial measures, including firing, resulting from their status or activity as representatives of the workforce in accordance with the law, collective agreements, or other forms of contractual agreement in effect;

Encourage management and trade unions to negotiate agreements [concerning trade union rights], where possible for fixed durations, and to seek to publicize these agreements among the workforce to the widest possible extent;

Encourage management and employee representatives to negotiate and conclude agreements seeking to ensure that trade union and employee representatives benefit, with comparable ability, from the same opportunities of access to training, salary progression and promotion as other employees, and that the remainder of their professional development is taken care of when they decide to stand down from office.

Within the continuity of the BSN/IUF framework agreements (equality of men and women, economic and social information, vocational training), BSN and the IUF confirm that the process of informing and educating trade union and worker representatives should develop within each BSN subsidiary with the goal of ensuring effective implementation.

A first review of the implementation of this declaration will be undertaken in a concerted way during the plenary meeting in 1995.

Geneva, May 25, 1994


For the IUF For BSN

Dan Gallin Philippe Lenain

General Secretary Deputy General Director

Agreement between the IUF and the Accor Group on Trade Union Rights


The Accor Group and the IUF:


noting that, in the global economy, all social and economic progress is contingent upon the maintaining of a society based on democratic values and respect for human rights;

further noting that the hotel industry needs peace and social consensus in order to grow;

being committed, therefore, to work in this direction, above all by the example they set;

recalling the basic right of each employee to be represented and defended by a union of his or her choice;

recognizing the reciprocal legitimacy of the other party and its right to intervene in both social and economic affairs, while both retain their own responsibilities, to the extent that they comply with applicable laws, contracts or collective agreements;

are therefore convinced that reinforcing democracy in the Group is the duty of both parties and that this implies both the recognition of differences over ways and means as well as the search for solutions through collective bargaining;

further note that this goal requires, for its achievement, an effort at educating and informing the employees concerned and their representatives so that they can better understand the problems, constraints and challenges faced by the company.

In this spirit, the Accor Group and the IUF shall undertake to


verify the faithful application by all Accor establishments of ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 135, pertaining respectively to

the right of employees to affiliate to the union of their choice,

the protection of employees against all acts of discrimination that tend to violate freedom of association,

the protection of employee representatives against any measures that could harm them, including discharge, motivated by their status or activities as employee representatives, insofar as they act in compliance with applicable laws, contracts or collective agreements.

The Accor Group therefore undertakes not to oppose efforts to unionize its employees.

The Accor Group considers respect for union rights to be part of the good reputation of its brand names.


encourage the management of subsidiaries and entities to allow union representatives to carry out their mandates and to have access to the same opportunities for training, pay increases and advancement as all other equally qualified employees.

Both parties agree that any differences arising from the interpretation or implementation of this agreement will be examined jointly, for the purpose of making recommendations to the parties concerned. The French version of this agreement shall be the point of reference.


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