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France

I. The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights

The International Framework

2. The International Labour Organization (ILO) [page 14]

… France is committed to seeing ILO, a source of international labour laws, establish a shared reference standard based on a common interpretation of conventions. It actively supports the universal ratification process for ILO’s eight fundamental conventions. For several years, it has also underlined the need to reinforce the organization’s  supervisory system.

France is one of ILO’s more active members and has a permanent seat on the organization’s Governing Body. It adheres to and promotes the Decent Work Agenda, and fully supports the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (the MNE Declaration). The country has signed a four-year partnership agreement with the International Labour Office, which involves implementing CSR initiatives and contributing to the Better Work Programme.

Actions Underway [page 16]

  • France seeks to ensure that the issues of decent work, occupational health and safety and supply chains are addressed by the G20, particularly by working with Germany, whose presidency runs from 2016 to 2017. It also seeks to build on the G7’s commitments to the UN Guiding Principles in 2015, as well as commitments made during the International Labour Conference in June 2016, one of the three themes of which was “decent work in global supply chains”.

 

The National Framework

10. Reinforcement of Legislation [page 24]

  • The Act of 10 July 2014 on unfair social competition was adopted to transpose into national law the European Directive on the posting of workers, which seeks to fight illegal labour practices and fraud in this field. Not only does the act create due diligence obligations, it also provides for joint liability (over and above the requirements in the European Directive) whenever posted workers are used (it establishes the liability of project owners and principals with respect to their subcontractors and co-contractors).

11. The Inter-Ministerial Exemplary Administration Action Plan and the National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement 

Public Procurement Policy [page 25]

Under Article 15 of Decree 2016-360 of 25 March 2016, contracting authorities may choose to include general administrative terms and conditions in public contracts. These terms and conditions cover general rather than specific provisions (performance of services, payment, auditing of services, presentation of subcontractors, deadlines, penalties, general conditions, etc.). Article 6 of these terms covers the protection of labour and working conditions, and states that contract holders must respect the working conditions set down in the labour laws and regulations of the country in which workers are hired or, otherwise, ILO’s eight fundamental conventions where these have not been incorporated into the country’s laws and regulations. …

Actions Underway [page 30]

  • The AFD supports the implementation of universal social protection and the promotion of initiatives to develop decent work (the creation of decent jobs, skills upgrading, training and the transition towards sustainable employment) in accordance with the AFD’s partnership with the International Labour Office and the priority areas in the ILO-France partnership agreement.

 

II. Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

2. Training and Information for Businesses [page 39]

… Thanks to the implementation of innovative partnerships between the public, private and nonprofit sectors, regional movements are providing information, raising awareness, offering training and supporting actions to defend and promote human rights. Regional business networks are also committed to human rights, women’s rights and the rights of newcomers, workers, vulnerable populations, etc. These networks, which support multi-stakeholder dialogue and operations, develop tools and initiatives adapted to the needs of businesses (micro, small, medium and large enterprises) using cooperative approaches.

Practical Tools Addressing Specific Issues [page 41]

  • ILO has created a business helpdesk providing questions and answers, resources and tools on issues connected with workers’ rights: discrimination, freedom of association, collective bargaining, wages and benefits, occupational safety and health, forced labour, child labour, etc. It also offers free and confidential assistance for company directors and workers.

III. Access to Remedy

1. Judicial Mechanisms – At the International Level

1.1 The Protocol to the ILO Forced Labour Convention (No. 29) [page 47]

France ratified the Protocol to the 1930 ILO Forced Labour Convention (no.29) on 7 June 2016. France was the fifth country to ratify the Protocol. This Protocol was adopted at the ILO International Labour Conference on 11 June 2014 in Geneva. It supplements the convention, which is one of ILO’s most ratified instruments, by dealing with new forms of forced labour.

The Protocol provides for access to appropriate and effective remedies such as compensation. It also reinforces international cooperation in the fight against forced and compulsory labour. It highlights the important role played by employers and workers in tackling this issue.

This ratification is evidence of France’s commitment to fighting all forms of forced labour and promoting the universal ratification of ILO’s fundamental conventions.

 

2. Non-Judicial Mechanisms – At the International Level

2.1 The OECD National Contact Point (NCP) [page 54]

The French NCP is very active in promoting responsible business conduct and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Following the Rana Plaza tragedy, the NCP stepped up its activities, especially in the field of due diligence for supply chain risks, human rights and workers’ rights. …

2.4 The European Social Charter [page 57]

In order to promote and guarantee social rights not covered in the European Convention on Human Rights, the Council of Europe drew up the European Social Charter, which was adopted in Turin in 1961. Significantly, the 1961 Charter covers the right to work, the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively, … , and the right to protection and assistance for migrant workers and their families. …

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