Time to compel big business to protect workers in their supply chain

28 September 2023

Speaking following a Dáil debate on Labour’s Bill to stamp out labour exploitation in the global supply chain, enterprise spokesperson Ged Nash said:

“Labour’s Bill is about introducing transparency in how big business report on workers and human rights in their supply chain. Government did not oppose our bill which is hugely welcome, but it can’t now gather dust on the Minister’s desk. We need to see robust reporting on labour practices in the supply chain introduced as early as possible.

“Black Friday is only around the corner, a time of year when big business cream it in. As it stands, the same corporates that are raking in massive profits often at the expense of labour abuses in low income countries do are not required to let us consumers know how they treat workers in their supply chain. It needs to end now.

“According to the International Labour Organisation, it is estimated that there are 25 million people in forced labour worldwide, and many of these people work in supply chains for major multinational companies who are household names. Reporting has shown how hazardous the conditions many of these workers are expected to content with – over heated factories, 12 hour plus working days and poverty pay.

“Government has an opportunity to make good on its 2017-2020 Action Plan on business and embed human rights principles into business reporting in this country.

“Countries like France and others have either legislated for ethical global business frameworks or are on their way do doing so. Ireland, as one of the most open and globalised economies in the world, has an especially important ethical obligation to vulnerable workers at risk of exploitation.

“We need to stamp out what is essentially modern day slavery in parts of the global supply chain. Let’s take action and make this bill law.”

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