The Irish Congress of Trade Unions will host its 7th Annual Global Solidarity Summer School on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th August at University College Cork. The theme for the Summer School is “Tackling Corporate Power in the Global Economy”, and there will be sessions on business and human rights, trade, tax justice, and framework agreements with global companies. A session is also planned on using social media as a tool for global campaigning.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and David Joyce in particular, have engaged strongly in discussions and developments regarding the business and human rights agenda at the international level, and on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights in Ireland. Earlier this year Congress made a detailed submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for its national action plan on business and human rights. The submission began by noting that:
States cannot use the power of business as an excuse to not do their duty to protect human rights. Businesses cannot use the failure of the state to protect as an excuse to avoid their responsibility to respect human rights. […] The promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility is no substitute for the state duty to protect people.
Congress has highlighted the importance of the UN Guiding Principles and Ireland’s national implementation plan for the trade union movement. A national plan has the potential to make a “significant contribution”, according to Congress, and its submission sets out what it sees as its key priorities for the Irish government. There is a particular emphasis on collective bargaining and access to justice for workers. The national action plan on business and human rights has not yet been published by the Department, and I look forward to discussing its prospects at the Summer School session on the topic of business and human rights.
A draft programme and details on registration are available here. Closing date is August 15th.