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Wednesday, March 17 • 18:30 - 20:00
The Need for an effective Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanism: Showcasing Examples

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Side session externally organized by Fair Wear Foundation

Brief description of the session:
The pandemic has had an enormous impact on the garment industry. Workers’ rights have come under even more pressure than before. Workers have been laid off for invalid reasons and have not been paid for lockdown period are some of the examples. To sum, the pandemic has exacerbated the need to have an efficient grievance mechanism by all employers.
The said session will follow the standard pattern with a moderator and few panel speakers. The moderator will introduce the topic and give a short presentation on access to remedy as laid in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and bringing the attention to the non-judicial grievance mechanism. Post that the panel speakers, representing varied stakeholders from the garment industry, will share their experience on being part of non-judicial grievance mechanism such as Fair Wear’s complaint mechanism.

Objective of the session:
Through this session we would like to have a session in which multiple actors present their view on access to remedy and available grievance mechanism. The session aims to share examples of remediation via FWF’s grievance mechanism highlighting principle 30 of UNGPs. Our session will showcase how grievance mechanism can strengthen overall standards and compliance.

Key question:
We aim to give answers to the following questions:
  • How does the remedy function fit within the larger discourse of business and human rights?
  • How are grievance mechanisms used – for what issues and by whom, and with what outcomes?
  • What are the challenges faced in ensuring access to the mechanism for workers and unions?
  • How did grievance mechanism support workers to voice their needs and problems in this pandemic?
  • In the backdrop of pandemic how can existing grievance mechanisms be made effective?

Background to the discussion:
In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights, also known as the Ruggie Framework. Through these principles, United Nations (UN) articulates the responsibilities that governments and businesses have regarding human rights, with a special focus on international supply chains. The principles clearly state that businesses have the responsibility to respect human rights in their supply chains. In situations where workers’ rights are violated as a consequence of the actions of businesses, workers should be provided with what the Guidelines call Access to Remedy. The OECD guidelines mention a similar responsibility for brands to provide for, or cooperate through legitimate processes in, the remediation of adverse human rights impacts where they identify that they have caused or contributed to these impacts. Access to Remedy at work refers to the principle that when rights are violated, there should be a channel through which workers or their representatives can raise the issue and find solutions. Apart from the role set aside for government, the OECD guidelines states the crucial role of businesses in facilitating Access to Remedy: To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, business enterprises should establish or participate in effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be adversely impacted. Fair Wear’s complaints procedure aligns closely with the Guidelines’ position that industry, multistakeholder and other collaborative initiatives that are based on respect for human rights-related standards should ensure that effective grievance mechanisms are available.

avatar for Suhasini Singh

Suhasini Singh

Country Manager- India, FairWear
Suhasini Singh has been working with Fear Wear foundation (FWF) since 2013. As a Regional Coordinator for South Asia and country Manager for India she oversees Fair Wear’s work in South Asia and in India. Since 2007, she has focused her work on labor rights issues in supply chain... Read More →


Katharina Fest

Head- Corporate Social Responsibility, Blutsgeschwister
avatar for Parvathi Madappa

Parvathi Madappa

Programme Coordinator, Cividep India
Parvathi is a Programme Officer at Cividep India and works on promoting workers’ rights and corporate accountability

Amirul Haque Amin

President, National Garment Workers Federation, Bangladesh

Wednesday March 17, 2021 18:30 - 20:00 IST
Room A