Simon, Hendrik; Monaco, Lorenza

The German Due Diligence Act and the Automotive Supply Chain in Africa: An Opportunity for Trade Union Solidarity

The German due diligence act and the automatic supply chain in Africa : An opportunity for trade union solidarity? / Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Trade Union Competence Center for Sub-Saharan Africa. - Johannesburg : Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 2023 . - 62 pages = 28 MB, PDF file. - Electronic ed.: Johannesburg : FES, 2023 - ISBN 978-0-6397-6896-0

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA) was adopted on June 21, 2021 and came into force on January 01, 2023. The legal framework is a crucial element to the protection and advancement of working conditions worldwide. But how can global implementation be achieved, taking into account the dramatic power imbalance between multinational companies and workers in the Global South? The role of trade unions will be key to making sure that the true experiences of workers are reflected in the company reports and to ensure that the stipulations of the law, for example, transparent and accessible complaint mechanisms, are available to all workers in the supply chain. In case of violations, it will be key for trade unions in the respective country, as well as in Germany, to cooperate to make sure that violations are remedied by the company or are taken to the necessary legal process to force the companies to comply with the law.

To analyse the preparedness of trade unions in the automotive sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to take on this task and the potential opportunities for trade unions to organise along the supply chain, the Trade Union Competence Center for Sub-Saharan Africa of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung commissioned the study captured in this report. The study presents an insight into the realities of workers in German automotive companies and their suppliers. The SCDDA is clearly needed as evidenced by the violations that are documented in the research. Under previously-existing law, they constituted violations, however, they could not be remedied. The SCDDA presents an additional avenue, holding the mother company in Germany directly responsible for achieving justice for workers.

The research provides an important reference for trade unions to hold companies accountable, to improve the working conditions of workers and to organise along the supply chain. At the same time, it provides empirical evidence of the weaknesses of the law when it comes to implementation and hence points out areas for improvement.

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA) was adopted on June 21, 2021 and came into force on January 01, 2023. The legal framework is a crucial element to the protection and advancement of working conditions worldwide. But how can global implementation be achieved, taking into account the dramatic power imbalance between multinational companies and workers in the Global South? The role of trade unions will be key to making sure that the true experiences of workers are reflected in the company reports and to ensure that the stipulations of the law, for example, transparent and accessible complaint mechanisms, are available to all workers in the supply chain. In case of violations, it will be key for trade unions in the respective country, as well as in Germany, to cooperate to make sure that violations are remedied by the company or are taken to the necessary legal process to force the companies to comply with the law.

To analyse the preparedness of trade unions in the automotive sector in Sub-Saharan Africa to take on this task and the potential opportunities for trade unions to organise along the supply chain, the Trade Union Competence Center for Sub-Saharan Africa of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung commissioned the study captured in this report. The study presents an insight into the realities of workers in German automotive companies and their suppliers. The SCDDA is clearly needed as evidenced by the violations that are documented in the research. Under previously-existing law, they constituted violations, however, they could not be remedied. The SCDDA presents an additional avenue, holding the mother company in Germany directly responsible for achieving justice for workers.

The research provides an important reference for trade unions to hold companies accountable, to improve the working conditions of workers and to organise along the supply chain. At the same time, it provides empirical evidence of the weaknesses of the law when it comes to implementation and hence points out areas for improvement.

The German due diligence act and the automotive supply chain in Africa

The German due diligence act and the automotive supply chain in Africa

An opportunity for trade union solidarity?
Johannesburg, 2023

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