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15 Mär 2024


Due diligence: a major boost for workers' rights in company supply chains

Today's vote by Member States in the Council unblocks the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, paving the way for a dramatic improvement in respect for the human rights of millions of workers in the supply chains of businesses operating in the EU.

The breakthrough is the result of years of determined and relentless trade union pressure. Despite a tumultuous delay, during which some Member States watered down the ambition of the Directive, notably by reducing the number of companies initially covered by the Directive from 16,000 to under 7,000, trade unions were able to win some important advances for working people.

Unions also ensured that, unlike in the Commission's original proposals, trade unions and workers' representatives will be involved in the development and implementation of an effective due diligence policy, plan and strategy in companies, their subsidiaries and throughout the supply chain, in accordance with EU values and rights. 

Reacting to the vote, ETUC Deputy General Secretary Isabelle Schömann said:

"The ETUC welcomes the positive vote on the CSDD Directive. The strong mobilisation of the trade union movement in Europe makes a difference for workers and trade unions in businesses and supply chains, despite the many obstacles that have been put in the way.

"By adopting the world's first set of legally binding rules to hold EU and third country companies and their subsidiaries accountable for their violations, Europe will remain at the forefront of protecting trade union and workers' rights as well as the environment.

"This is a historic breakthrough. The ETUC recognises the efforts made by the Belgian Presidency to find a compromise solution, while the hijacking of the EU legislative process by national domestic politics has unfortunately reduced the original ambition and left a bittersweet taste.

"The ETUC will continue to mobilise to ensure that the largest possible majority of MEPs vote in favour of this directive, so that the EU can finally deliver concrete results for workers in companies and supply chains and improve the human rights of millions of working people."