Parliament supports SP motion to strengthen international labour law

13 April 2010

Parliament supports SP motion to strengthen international labour law

Dutch firms which wish to win state support to operate abroad will from now on be obliged to demonstrate that they adhere to international labour law. In addition, they must show how they act to prevent transgressions of, for example, environmmental and human rights norms in distant countries. The national parliament today gave its backing to two proposals to this effect from SP Member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen.

Sharon GesthuizenDutch undertakings which export their products can have their exports underwritten with guarantees from the state authorities, a form of insurance which can be vital to firms doing business in less stable countries. “Foreign trade can have favourable effects for business in both the Netherlands and the country receiving the trade, so it's not out of order for the state to support it, says Gesthuizen. "But we are entitled to demand that firms, certainly those receiving such support, behave fairly and honestly."

Gesthuizen's proposals will ensure that firms operating abroad with state support do not employ children or forced labour. Companies will also be required to combat discrimination in the workplace. "We're asking these firms to draw up a plan to limit risk to the environment and to human rights," she explains "That's extremely important, because you still find in many sectors pollution on a a large scale as well as other abuses. These proposals will ensure that the state offers support only to those companies which take real action in the fight against injustice."

You are here