In Focus: Australia’s CFMEU calls for improvements in reporting of labour practices

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  • In Focus

    Australia’s CFMEU calls for improvements in reporting of labour practices

In Focus

Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) are calling for the implementation of stricter reinforcements in Sustainability Reporting to ensure that major Australian companies accurately report their labour practices to shareholders, investors, and the public.

The trade union recently released their 2010 Labour Practices in Sustainability Reporting report which evaluated the Sustainability Reports of ten major Australian companies. The results revealed that companies generally fail to accurately report on key labour issues such as workplace safety and workforce representation.

CFMEU Mining General Secretary Andrew Vickers notes that corporations “cannot be relied on” to be transparent on their labour practices. However, the accurate reporting of labour practices plays a key role in informing the public of a company’s conduct. It also serves as an important tool for pension fund trustees in analyzing and managing long term investments. Reporting on labour practices that is deficient or misrepresentative may imply, at best, inaccuracy in reporting or, at worst, an attempt to disguise poor employment practices. Furthermore, failing to accurately report on labour practices directly affects the ability of unions and other stakeholders to properly evaluate the company.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), which CFMEU is an affiliate of, views the recently released report as an important contribution in holding corporations to account for labour rights violations. ACTU Assistant Secretary Tim Lyons notes that the results of the study are, in regards to monitoring labour practices, “more than a little sobering”. In light of the report, CFMEU National Research Director Peter Colley adds that unions should take this opportunity as a catalyst for action – to mobilize and address the issue of poor labour practices reporting, compel Australian companies to provide accurate Sustainability Reports, and furthermore pressure the corporations to comply with International Labour Organization (ILO) standards.

The full report and a summary, a flyer, and a press release are all available on the CFMEU website.

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