Trade unions across the world have warmly welcomed the signing of a new labour rights deal with communications giant France Telecom.
The company, which owns mobile phone provider Orange in the UK, employs more than 200,000 people in 170 countries. It signed the deal following negotiations with UNI, the trade union body that represents telecoms workers worldwide.
Under the global framework agreement, the company refuses to be involved with forced labour. It has also agreed to combat discrimination, to be vigilant about health and safety in the workplace, and to respect trade union freedoms and social dialogue.
The company also committed itself to providing opportunities for staff to be appointed to posts internationally on a voluntary basis, to have access to training, the right to paid holidays, flexibility of work schedules, the principle of fair pay and of equal pay between men and women.
France Telecom will meet with UNI and its unions twice a year to review the agreement and discuss progress. Supplier companies will also be informed about the deal.
“Effectively demonstrating the adoption of these principles is a favourable foundation for long-term partnerships,” the document states.
Global framework agreements are becoming increasingly commonplace between unions and major European companies. German electronics group Bosch, Swedish fashion retailer H&M, flat-pack furniture company Ikea, and Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica have all signed deals.