International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Worker’s Associations (IUF) & AB-InBev
Lead NCPBelgium
Supporting NCP(s)
DescriptionSpecific instance alleging a non-observance of the Guidelines by AB-InBev.
Theme(s)Human rights, Employment and industrial relations
Date2 Apr 2019
Host country(ies)India
SourceTrade Union
Industry sectorWholesale and retail trade

Read the initial assessment issued by the Belgian NCP – 24 June 2019

Read the intermediary mediation statement issued by the Belgian NCP – 2 March 2020

Read the final statement issued by the Belgian NCP – 19 November 2020

On 2 April 2019, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Worker’s Associations (IUF) representing the local union in India (HBLMU), submitted a specific instance to the Belgian NCP, alleging that AB InBev, a Belgian-Brazilian brewing company, had not observed the Human Rights (Chapter IV) and the Employment and industrial relations (Chapter V) provisions of the OECD Guidelines. The issues were related to collective bargaining negotiations and freedom of association in its beverage manufacturing facility in Sonepat, India. The submitter further claimed that anti-union practices and intimidation had led to suspensions of unionists and workers by the company, which are still being reviewed in parallel proceedings in an Indian Court.

On 24 June 2019, the Belgian NCP decided to accept the case and published its initial assessment, offering its good offices to the parties, who accepted.

On 2 March 2020, after a two-day mediation session conducted by a professional third party mediator, the Belgian NCP published an intermediary mediation statement mentioning that while the mediation proved to be successful in terms of generating a dialogue and achieving a common understanding of the respective positions, it did not yet yield an agreement. However, the parties decided to continue their dialogue focusing on what appeared to be the central issue of the submission, i.e. the dismissal of four employees.

The Belgian NCP decided to continue offering its good offices. The four workers and union representatives took part in this second mediation session lasting several days.

On 19 November 2020, the Belgian NCP published its final statement, announcing that an agreement had been reached between the parties around three main points :

  • Rapid reintegration of the four workers at the same workplace and recognition of their role of trade union representatives.
  • Cessation of local protest actions and picketing.
  • Follow up and monitoring of the agreement by the Belgian NCP

The Belgian NCP formulated recommendations to both parties related to continued dialogue and mutual respect between parties, independence of third-party monitor and company-union dialogue.  

The Belgian NCP invited the parties to report in writing on the status of implementation of the agreement, and will, if necessary, arrange a meeting with both parties to discuss its recommendations and the operationalization of the agreement. A follow up Statement on the progress of the situation between the parties after six months will be published.