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22 Aug 2017

Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, SOMO

Historic agreement between Heineken and former Congolese workers seeking remedy in labour rights dispute

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Heineken and factory workers previously employed by Heineken's Congolese subsidiary, Bralima, have reached an agreement after 168 of the workers filed a complaint against the Dutch beer brewer for abuses of the workers' rights. The complaint alleged Heineken had breached human rights standards outlined in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and sought remedy in the form of monetary compensation. Details of the agreement, which was facilitated by the Dutch National Contact Point (NCP), are to remain confidential, but all parties describe the outcome as satisfactory... "This result is historic because agreements in OECD Guidelines complaints seeking remedy are rare,” explained Joseph Wilde-Ramsing, Coordinator of OECD Watch.... "This case reveals the potential of NCPs to provide effective access to remedy and help resolve disputes between companies and communities if NCPs are adequately resourced and backed by sufficient political will.”... As part of the agreement, Heineken has committed to improving its policy and practices on doing business in volatile and conflict-affected countries. An evaluation of the implementation of the agreement will be conducted in mid-2018.