Unilever and Trade Union N°1, Chilean Trade Union Confederation (CUT)
Lead NCPChile
Supporting NCP(s)Netherlands, United Kingdom
DescriptionSpecific instance notified by the Chilean Trade Union Confederation (CUT) regarding the activities of Unilever, a multinational enterprise operating in Chile.
Theme(s)General policies, Disclosure, Human rights, Employment and industrial relations, Consumer interests
Date15 Apr 2019
Host country(ies)Chile
SourceTrade Union
Industry sectorManufacturing

Read the final statement published by the NCP on 10 July 2020: English / Spanish

On 15th April 2019, Unilever's No. 1 National Workers' Union and the Chilean Trade Union Confederation (CUT) filed a case with the Chilean NCP, in respect of alleged violations of the Guidelines' Chapters II. General Principles, III. Disclosure of Information, IV. Human Rights, V. Employment and Industrial Relations, and VIII. Consumer interests. The cases concerned the closure of Distribution Centre in Lampa, due to an outsourcing process, which involved the dismissal of 152 workers associated with the Union. These events were also related to a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Chilean NCP in 2005 as a result of another specific instance between the parties (link). The MoU provided that the company would inform the Union at least six months in advance of any plans for dismissals or outsourcing, to ensure adequate preparation by the workers.

After receiving a response from the company, requesting some clarifications from the applicants, and holding meetings with both parties, the Chilean NCP accepted the case for further examination and offering its good offices on November 11, 2019. In January 2020, the terms of reference for initiating a mediation process were finalised.

In March 2020, both parties informed the NCP that, in the context of one of the parallel proceedings before the Second Court of Law of Santiago. During the preliminary conciliation stage of these proceedings, an agreement had been reached between the parties, reflected in a "Judicial Conciliation Act", dated 6 February 2020 Additionally, the parties agreed to a "Joint Declaration of the parties before the National Contact Point of Chile", on 1 March 2020. The agreement considered various elements, including a sum of money and the deletion of a specific provision from the Memorandum of Understanding signed before the NCP in 2005. With this, the parties requested the termination on the NCP process. The NCP invited the parties to prepare a new version of the MoU but no agreement could be reached in this regard.

The Chilean NCP appreciated the willingness of the Trade Union N°1, the CUT, and Unilever to engage in dialogue with the objective of reaching an agreement, both within and outside of the NCP process. Although there were no direct dialogue sessions, the Chilean NCP expressed confidence that the process before it contributed to the subsequent agreement reached between the parties during conciliation before the Second Court of Law of Santiago.

Taking this into consideration, the Chilean NCP concluded the specific instance by making the following comments and recommendations:

The Chilean NCP's congratulated both parties for the constructive attitude, the agreement reached and recommended to maintain consultations and cooperation between the company, the workers and their representatives on issues of common interest. In this context, it recommended to ensure compliance with the updated Memorandum of Understanding, through an effective and constructive dialogue.

The Chilean NCP congratulated the company for considering the OECD Guidelines throughout the NCP process. The NCP took this opportunity to remind the company of the importance of maintaining the implementation of risk-based due diligence in the management of the company, according to the OECD Guidelines.

The final statement was published on 10 July 2020. The parties will report to the NCP on the status of compliance with the recommendations in June 2021, at which time the NCP will issue a public report. Chilean NCP press release.