Business and Human Rights: Misconceptions and Recommendations for Trade Union Actions

Policy Paper
Jun 2021

In this policy brief, the ITUC-AP clarifies misconceptions about business and human rights. First, it clarifies that freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining should NOT be excluded from the spectrum of human rights. Second, that the promotion and protection of human rights is unquestionably a matter of high priority for the international community. Third, that corporate responsibility cannot replace the duty of the state to respect human rights. Fourth, it clarifies some ambiguity in the misconception that corporate responsibility is voluntary. Fifth, it reiterates that trade unions at all levels are responsible for protecting the rights of workers and trade unions themselves.

It puts forth the following recommendations for trade union actions: make the national action plan (NAP) for business and human rights work, advance legislations for human rights, synchronise the UNGPs and the SDGs, ensure policy coherence, and promote constructive industrial relations.