(1) Please comment on wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by multinational enterprises taking into account the recommendations in paragraphs 33-34.
(2) What (new) measures, if any, have been adopted by the government so that lower income groups and less developed areas benefit from the activities of MNEs?
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Grenada, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
The Government of Argentina reports that wages in MNEs are in line with national economic conditions and the new labour market reforms. As a result of the economic situation and high unemployment, some MNEs and national enterprises are shortening working time with a corresponding reduction of salary. Convention No. 110 has not been ratified. Plantation workers are generally provided with the prescribed minimum amenities. Minimum wages are set by the National Committee of Agricultural Work of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (Comisíon Nacional de Trabajo Agrario del Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social), on which employers and workers are represented. MNEs provide housing when the enterprise is far from urban centres. They cover the workers' health needs, and in isolated cases, enterprises provide workers and their families with medical care. The Framework Agreement on Employment, Productivity and Social Justice (Acuerdo Marco para el Empleo, la Productividad y la Equidad Social) (July 1994) emphasizes the importance of social dialogue for promoting social justice. Such dialogue enables all the parties concerned to set goals for modernizing the economy, to adapt the production processes accordingly and expand employment opportunities.
Pay, benefits and working conditions are generally determined by industrial awards and collective agreements, reports the Government of Australia. According to a 1990 survey that was the case for 86 per cent of non-managerial staff. Minimum standards for those workers not covered by awards are laid down in the Commonwealth Industrial Relations Act 1988 (the IR Act). Federal and state industrial awards, together with the statutory minima apply to workers in enterprises of all sizes, including MNEs. The Industrial Relations Reform Act 1993 is intended to promote a more decentralized industrial relations system. However, the safety net of minimum terms and conditions guaranteed by industrial awards is being maintained. Of particular interest is the "no disadvantage test", under which the Australian Industrial Relations Commission will not approve agreements that reduce entitlements and the protection of employees covered by other agreements, unless such reductions are not considered to be contrary to the public interest. According to a 1990 survey, the only significant difference found to exist between MNEs and other enterprises as regards pay is that 53 per cent of employees in the former received remuneration exceeding those prescribed by industrial awards, as opposed to 35 per cent of employees in other establishments. In New South Wales, pay, benefits and working conditions in MNEs are comparable to those in other enterprises; in South Australia, they are in many cases much better, since MNEs tend to have large operations and highly skilled workers. As regards lower income groups, the Queensland Industrial Relations Act 1990, which provides for a "no disadvantage test" to any package of entitlements, ensures that no enterprise agreement is to the disadvantage of workers. In South Australia, the Department for Industry, Manufacturing, Small Business and Regional Development has programmes for attracting investment to non-metropolitan areas.
The Government of Austria states that its reply to the last survey is still relevant. It adds that under the Employment Contract Harmonization Act (AVRAG), which came into force on 1 July 1993, workers in foreign-owned companies must receive the same remuneration as comparable workers in similar enterprises, as prescribed by law or collective agreement. Where the level of local pay is more favourable than that set under the foreign system, payment of the former is mandatory. This also applies to foreign workers on assignment in Austria for a period of more than one month (except those involved in tasks relating to the delivery, assembly or repair of equipment which cannot be carried out by locals, and the duration of which does not exceed three months).
According to the Government of the Bahamas, wages paid by MNEs are either comparable to or better than average wages in the country. The Government has instituted a system which has created opportunities for rural and low-income workers to market their products.
The Government of Bangladesh reports that wages, fringe benefits and other conditions of service in MNEs are generally better than those in national enterprises. Issues relating to wages and other benefits are resolved through negotiations. Lower income groups and those in less developed areas derive benefits from the operations of MNEs. The observations made by the Bangladesh Employers' Association are similar to those of the Government.
According to the Government of Barbados, wages, benefits and the conditions of employment of workers in some MNEs are the subject of collective bargaining. These collective agreements are no less favourable than those concluded in local companies. Enterprises with no collective agreements provide socially acceptable wages and working conditions. The Government continues to provide and maintain the infrastructure that makes jobs accessible to persons in lower income groups and less developed parts of the country. The Barbados Employers' Confederation states that most enterprises are governed by collective agreements. Those in which there are no collective agreements tend either to conform to the labour market in terms of wages, benefits and conditions of work, or to improve on them. To its knowledge, no measures have been adopted by the Government that would allow low income groups or less developed areas to benefit from the activities of MNEs. According to the Barbados Workers' Union, wages, benefits and working conditions vary among MNEs. In the telecommunications sector, wages and benefits are either similar to or better than the norm, whereas in the information services and electronics industries, wages are lower than the national average. Workers in information services are not unionized. No new measures have been adopted to ensure that lower income groups and less developed areas benefit from MNEs' activities.
According to the Government of Belgium, MNEs generally have a good record as regards conditions of work and life. However, their search for higher levels of productivity leads to great increases in the number of staff in certain professional categories, while others are dismissed or made to work on a temporary basis for economic reasons. That gave rise to a major collective labour dispute in an enterprise in the automobile industry (not named). The possibility that such situations could lead to the relocation of enterprises gives rise to great concern. The National Labour Council (Belgium) draws attention to two Council Directives (of the EU) pertaining to working-time arrangements (23 November 1993) and the protection of youth at work (22 June 1994).
According to the Government, MNEs in Brazil are generally among those enterprises that offer the best wages, benefits and working conditions. Company policy, the type of activity, location, and the degree to which workers are organized, are among the factors that account for inter-company differences. There are no specific initiatives for enhancing the contribution of MNEs to lower income groups and less developed regions. None the less, the Government's development plans recognize the critical role of MNEs in the processes of technological and economic development, which are expected to contribute to the creation of good quality jobs. The Single Central Organization of Workers states that wages paid by MNEs are above the national minimum, although they are less than those paid in the parent companies. Employment opportunities in MNEs in Brazil have been on the decline because of drastic staff cuts.
The Government of Cambodia indicates that MNEs offer better wages, benefits and conditions of work to their employees than other enterprises in the country. The Government is currently exploring measures so that lower income groups and less developed areas may benefit from MNEs' activities.
According to the Government of Canada there are no comparative data on wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs and other enterprises in the country as a whole. The labour legislation applies to all enterprises regardless of their ownership and origin. The Government of the Province of Quebec points out that MNEs generally offer better pay and benefits than other enterprises. For example, 34 per cent of collective agreements in MNEs, as opposed to 17.8 per cent in other enterprises, provide for cost of living allowance. With respect to life insurance, the figures are 75 per cent and 58.7 per cent respectively. Moreover, 60 per cent of MNEs contribute to these life insurance schemes as opposed to 46.3 per cent in the case of other companies. Eighty-one per cent of MNEs have retirement schemes, whereas 59.4 per cent of other enterprises do. More than half of all MNEs contribute to income protection insurance. As regards complementary sickness insurance, 59 per cent of MNEs as opposed to 45.8 per cent of other enterprises make this available; in the case of dental insurance it is 43 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively. Only 24 per cent of MNEs give sick leave. In the case of other enterprises it is 60 per cent. The Unemployment Insurance Act guarantees such leave and Quebec is considering introducing an insurance covering the cost of medicaments, which will apply to everyone. The Government of the Province of Quebec provides wage subsidies to enterprises that hire persons receiving social assistance. This also applies to MNEs. There is no distinction between enterprises when it comes to the application of Government's regional development policies.
According to the Government of Chad, both MNEs and national enterprises offer pay, benefits and working conditions that are in keeping with the legal requirements. In an effort to increase low wages in general, and those of agricultural workers in particular, the statutory minimum wage and the minimum wage for agricultural workers were both revised in 1995 and 1996.
The Government of Chile points out that section 44(3) of the Labour Code prescribes that the monthly remuneration must not be less than the statutory minimum. The Code and other national laws relating to benefits and working conditions apply to all enterprises, including MNEs.
According to the Government of Colombia, MNEs must provide their workers with at least the minimum conditions of work stipulated by the Labour Code. However, as a result of collective bargaining, workers in these enterprises generally enjoy better wages and benefits. As regards working conditions, these are governed by Act 100 of 1993 under which the Ministry of Labour and Social Security set up an office to deal with occupational hazards (Dirección de Riesgos Profesionales del Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social). All the measures adopted are designed to protect the rights of disadvantaged groups and large sums of money are invested in projects for this purpose. The activities of MNEs generally contribute to the development of the regions in which they are located. The National Association of Manufacturers notes that in Colombia there are MNEs which offer better salaries, benefits and working conditions than local enterprises. On the whole, MNEs use the minima prescribed by law for setting wages and benefits. However, these can be higher as a result of collective bargaining or the policies of individual companies. The General Confederation of Democratic Workers states that in Colombia MNEs pay at least the legal minimum wage, and in a "very few" cases the wages are higher. Within this small number of enterprises, there is an even smaller group in which there are unions and where wages can be determined through collective bargaining. The Government does not closely follow the activities of MNEs and it does not seem to be well informed about whether or not lower income groups benefit from their activities.
The Government states that wages in MNEs are generally better than those paid by other enterprises in Costa Rica. Working conditions (which normally include living accommodation, water and electricity, and sports facilities), are regulated through collective agreements.
The Government of the Czech Republic states that during the period under review it received no complaints or comments to the effect that wages and benefits provided by MNEs were not in keeping with the principles of the Declaration. Wages and conditions of work offered by MNEs are generally more favourable than those offered by comparable domestic companies. The high skill levels of workers in MNEs largely account for the wage differences. In 1995 MNEs employed 131,000 persons in the industrial sector, and on average, wages increased by 17.6 per cent between 1994 and 1995. In local enterprises wage increases averaged 17.2 per cent over the same period. The remuneration of managers in MNEs is "considerably higher" than that of their local counterparts, whereas that of manual workers and clerical staff in MNEs is a "little above the average". As regards measures whereby lower income groups and less developed areas can benefit from MNEs' activities, these are not considered necessary under present circumstances. The Czech and Moravian Chamber of Trade Unions (MK OS) concurs that wages and working conditions in MNEs are generally better than those in comparable local enterprises. These differences are particularly pronounced in the cases of certain occupations and middle management positions, and between MNEs with very high productivity levels and local enterprises where productivity is much lower. The trade unions support governmental action to set up infrastructure and create job opportunities in less developed areas.
The Dominica Employers' Federation reports that the information contained in its reply to the fifth survey is still applicable.
The Government of Ecuador indicates that enterprises cannot pay wages and salaries that are less than either the minimum living wage or the statutory minimum wages determined for each branch of activity by the respective sectoral committees responsible for reviewing and fixing minimum wages and salaries (Comisiones Sectoriales de revisión y fijación de Sueldos y Salarios mínimos). Enterprises can, through freely negotiated contracts with individual workers or through collective agreements, offer pay that exceeds these minima. Foreign-owned enterprises generally pay higher wages than their local counterparts, while working conditions and benefits are either equal to or better than those offered by other companies. The collective agreement (copy attached) to which a major food and drink MNE (name given) is a party, contains provisions entitling workers to various benefits. These include the following: insurance policies; three months' paid maternity leave with the possibility of three additional months of leave without pay with a guarantee of retaining one's job; baby food products up to child's first year; special bonuses, a revolving fund for housing, and Christmas bonus and gifts of food items; meals; and loans to workers in cases of serious domestic difficulties. The Government notes that its plans and policies are always in line with the provisions of paragraph 35 of the Tripartite Declaration and believes that it seems somewhat "utopic" to attempt to divert investors from pursuing their basic interests.
According to information submitted by the Federation of Egyptian Industries, enterprises in the pharmaceutical and metal trades (named) generally offer competitive wages and benefits which are sometimes among the highest in the country. Some pharmaceutical companies consider employees to be an important asset and they therefore endeavour to pay wages and benefits which reflect this. Annual bonuses, profit-sharing schemes, social security coverage and the provision of meals and free transport are among the benefits offered by some enterprises in the metal trades.
The Government of Estonia reports that according to the Estonian Confederation of Industry and Employers, wage levels in MNEs are usually higher than in national undertakings. Minimum wages in MNEs exceed the statutory minimum. Some enterprises provide additional benefits such as paid annual leave of 35 days and child allowances. Moreover, working days preceding holidays are shortened by two hours. The Association of Estonian Trade Unions states that wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are more favourable than those offered by comparable employers. It believes that the Government has not adopted suitable measures to ensure that lower income groups and less developed areas benefit from the activities of MNEs.
According to the Government of Ethiopia, a comparison of wages being paid by different enterprises revealed that foreign enterprises offer the best wages and benefits to their employees. In most cases, various allowances and transport services are provided on the basis of collective agreements. No measures have been adopted so far to benefit lower income groups and less developed areas.
The Government of Finland, the Confederation of Finnish Industry and Employers and the Employers' Confederation of Service Industries state that there is nothing new to report. According to the Central Organisation of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), the Finnish Confederation of Salaried Employees (STTK) and the Confederation of Unions for Academic Professionals in Finland (AKAVA), MNEs must respect Finnish labour laws and collective agreements. Many of them also voluntarily offer additional benefits to their personnel -- material assistance, foreign travel and extra holiday bonuses. Performance-related pay is a general feature in at least some sectors. Some enterprises offer salaried employees better benefits than production workers.
According to the National Council of French Employers salaries, benefits and working conditions in MNEs are often better than those offered by local employers. The higher standards observed by multinationals tend to have a demonstration effect on national enterprises.
The Government of Gabon notes that there is nothing particular to report as regards MNEs' policies on wages and conditions of work in general. Among the measures intended to assist lower income groups, Government has introduced a fund for investment diversification with the aim of creating secondary activities with beneficial effects on employment and income distribution. As an example, the Government refers to an agricultural enterprise (name given) which was created as a result of the activities of an enterprise in the petroleum sector. The Gabonese Confederation of Free Trade Unions reports that in general MNEs offer better wages and conditions of work than other enterprises. However, it draws attention to their use of cheap labour by resorting to service enterprises which do not guarantee job security. In addition, these service enterprises recruit low-cost, illegal migrant workers who have no social protection.
The Government of Germany states that its report to the fourth survey is still applicable. It adds that since there is the principle of "wage-setting autonomy" it has no influence on matters concerning wages. It also has no say in the question of where MNEs locate their operations.
The Government reports that in Grenada wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are far superior to those offered by comparable employers in the country. In some enterprises employees can purchase shares.
The Government of Hungary states that neither the privatization of SOEs nor new investment by MNEs has adversely affected wages and other working conditions. To its knowledge, there have been no situations in which previous contracts were terminated or wages were reduced. There was evidence that after privatization, wages in many enterprises increased above the national average. In the case of greenfield investment, MNEs tend to use information provided by government sources as a basis for setting wages which are usually about 25 to 30 per cent higher than average wages for comparable jobs in other enterprises. In the private sector, wages and other benefits are covered by individual agreements or collective contracts. Very few contracts are negotiated at the industry level. A national tripartite body, the Interest Coordinating Council, sets the minimum wage and examines recommendations for wage increases. There are no specific data to determine with exactitude the differences in wages paid by MNEs as opposed to other enterprises. However, secondary data and the results of a survey conducted by the Hungarian Labour Inspectorate show that the wage levels in industries in which MNEs predominate tend to be substantially higher than the average wages in other industries, reflecting MNEs' interest in attracting and retaining a highly competent workforce. A number of economic and regional development programmes and employment promoting measures, including incentives to both local and foreign companies, have been implemented to support the development of less developed regions. However, these initiatives are financed from local resources and state funds, with the largest share being allocated to the most disadvantaged regions. These efforts are aimed at implementing an "integrated restructuring and crisis management programme". The establishment of industrial parks with adequate infrastructure is expected to give a further boost to regional development. The Regional Development Bill was submitted to Parliament in September 1995, and certain fiscal incentives for attracting investment into disadvantaged areas have also been proposed in the 1996 national budget. Regional Development Councils should cooperate with tripartite county labour councils which analyse employment-related issues and take decisions on grants to be given at the local level. The National Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions, the National Federation of Workers' Councils and the National Federation of Autonomous Trade Unions point out that the introduction of "lean production" and new wage structures by MNEs imposes considerable psychological pressure on workers. While there are industries and sectors (e.g. pharmaceuticals, sanitary-hygienic products, and metal trades) where wages are above average, this was not the case in other industries (e.g. light manufacturing) which were now exclusively foreign-owned.
The Government of India reports that wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by MNEs fall broadly within the framework of government policies, even though in some cases they are much better when compared to those offered by local employers. No specific measures have been adopted by Government to enable lower income groups and less developed areas to benefit from MNEs' activities.
The Government of Indonesia reports that its wages policy is designed to increase the standard of living of the workers and of their families in conformity with their educational levels and the capability of the companies concerned. Existing regulations governing wages, working conditions and the provision of other facilities including housing, medical services and meals apply to both national and multinational enterprises. There is a statutory minimum wage. Company plans and decisions to pay higher wages are implemented following bipartite discussions. The criteria for fixing minimum wages are the lowest skill and occupation and the minimum "working experience of 0-1 year". Enterprises that are allowed to pay wages at the minimum level normally fulfil the following conditions: the enterprise must be new, not enjoy any special privileges or facilities provided by the Government and have no foreign capital participation. Although there is no wage policy for the informal sector, the enterprises concerned are always encouraged to refer to the statutory minimum wage in force.
Wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs in Ireland compare favourably with those in similar local enterprises, reports the Government. Wages and working conditions in both national and foreign enterprises are generally determined through collective bargaining. At the start of 1994 a new Programme for Competitiveness and Work (1994-96) was adopted following tripartite discussions. Like past programmes, it applies to all enterprises, and covers wages and a broad range of economic and social policy questions. Under the National Development Plan 1994-1999, Ireland will concentrate on the sectors and market niches in which it is most competitive, with the aim of attracting inward investment in activities that would create an average of 9,000 jobs each year for the duration of the Plan. The goal of Ireland's employment policy is to maximize the number of sustainable jobs and improve access to jobs for disadvantaged groups, especially for the long-term unemployed. Foreign investment in the pharmaceutical, health care, electronics, precision engineering and software industries will be encouraged within the framework of the Industry Operational Programme 1994-1999, with a view to enhancing job opportunities, skills and technologies (information drawn from Growing and sharing our employment: Strategy paper on the labour market; and the Programme on competitiveness and work, annexed to the report).
According to the Government of Italy, wages and conditions of work are governed by the relevant legislation and collective agreements, which are respected by both national and multinational enterprises. The General Confederation of Industry (Italy) concurs with the Government.
The Government states that wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs in Jordan are similar to, and sometimes better than those in other establishments. Many privileges and fiscal incentives are given to encourage investors to operate in less developed areas. The Amman Chamber of Industry states that it is generally believed that employees in MNEs receive salaries which are above the existing salary scales in Jordan. There are provident funds, and amenities (e.g. medical services) are also provided. The Chamber is not aware of any measures for enabling lower income groups or less developed areas to benefit from the activities of MNEs.
The Government of the Republic of Korea notes that wages and working conditions in MNEs are similar to those in national enterprises. No measures have been adopted to benefit lower income groups and less developed areas. According to the Korea Employers' Federation, MNEs generally offer better wages, benefits and conditions of work than national enterprises. However, over the survey period, this gap narrowed due to wage increases in national enterprises. No measures have been adopted for the benefit of lower income groups and less developed areas.
The Government of Kuwait states that the labour laws cover workers in MNEs, and they encompass the following: protection of workers' rights; payment of due wages upon termination of employment; working conditions; OSH; remuneration and compensation for overtime. The Government will endeavour to improve its labour legislation by setting a minimum wage for certain job categories. Gradually, the same will be done for other job categories.
The Federation of Luxembourg Manufacturers indicates that MNEs generally offer wages, benefits and conditions of work that are either equal to, or slightly better than, those provided by national enterprises. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions states that the provisions of these paragraphs of the Declaration are complied with in Luxembourg.
The Government of Malaysia reports that in MNEs where the workers are organized, wages and benefits are determined by collective agreements and are invariably more favourable than those offered by local enterprises. In MNEs where the workers are unorganized, studies by the Labour Department show that wages and benefits are either more favourable or the same as those in local enterprises, including in enterprises with national unions. The Malaysian Trades Union Congress reports that many MNEs pay lower wages and provide less favourable benefits and conditions of work than national enterprises. This is particularly striking in MNEs where the workforce is not organized. Fiscal incentives have been given to MNEs investing in less developed areas.
The General Confederation of Employers of Mauritania notes that by virtue of the scale of their operations, MNEs are in the position to offer better wages, benefits and conditions of work than national enterprises. The Free Confederation of Workers of Mauritania reports that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is not applied. Furthermore, social insurances and protective measures related to health are granted only on an exceptional basis. In the event that these are supplied, they do not comply with the Conventions and Recommendations referred to in these paragraphs. Apart from those involved in infrastructural development projects, MNEs are mainly located in the capital. Consequently, conditions are not favourable for them to contribute to the activities which benefit less developed regions or lower income groups located mainly in rural areas. In addition, job security in MNEs operating in the field of infrastructural development is not guaranteed.
The Government of Mauritius reports that the national labour laws do not differentiate between local enterprises and MNEs. Wages and conditions of employment in the private sector (including MNEs) are fixed in line with recommendations by the National Remuneration Board.
The Government of Mexico reports that notwithstanding a fall in the number of jobs created per unit of capital invested, employment in enterprises with foreign participation grew at a rate of 13 times more than the national average during the early 1990s. Wages in MNEs are generally higher than the national average especially in relatively small enterprises and those involved in transport, communications, services, agriculture, the raising of livestock and construction. Wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs must be in line with the norms set by the Federal Labour Act. MNEs in the maquiladora industry tend to have a policy of giving wage increases. On the whole multinationals have a positive effect on the economy, since they also generate indirect employment, including in infrastructural development projects in the regions where they are located. Between 1988 and 1994 industrial locations were redefined in order to decentralize activities by encouraging the development of industrial parks in those parts of the country which have good communication facilities, highly skilled manpower and easy access to sources of raw material. A Decree to promote the establishment and operation of industrial parks was issued in 1993 and a wide range of activities are being carried out in these parks. The Mexican Confederation of Chambers of Industry points out that the wages agreed in collective agreements generally reflect wage levels in, and the economic situation of, the areas in which the enterprises are located. The demand for labour and the concentration of MNEs in a given place also have an impact on wage levels. The Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) agrees with the Government.
The Government of Myanmar states that wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by MNEs take into account workers' basic needs in a satisfactory manner.
The Government of Namibia points out that wages and conditions of work differ from company to company. Workers can join and form trade unions which are able to negotiate on their behalf on matters concerning wages and conditions of work.
The Working Conditions Act which came into force in 1990 applies to all enterprises, including MNEs, states the Government of the Netherlands. The Government appends to its report, a copy of the Act, which essentially focuses on occupational safety and health. The Federation of Netherlands Industry and Employers agrees with the Government.
The Government states that wages, benefits and working conditions in enterprises in New Zealand are negotiable, subject to the minimum requirements prescribed by law. Information on the national labour standards is widely disseminated through a free phone inquiry service and publications (copy of Employment: Your contract, your rights, your obligations enclosed with report). There are statutory, minimum daily, hourly and weekly wages for workers aged 16-19 years and for those 20 years and over. These were increased in 1994 and 1995, and at the end of 1995 further increases in minimum wages for workers in the aforementioned age groups, were recommended. The Government stresses that New Zealand is an industrialized market economy country and that it is the responsibility of the Government, not MNEs, to put in place the necessary laws and measures to ensure the well-being of lower income groups and improve conditions in less developed areas. The New Zealand Employers' Federation supports the Government's statement. It adds that the concerns of the survey appear to be based on an "outdated view of the value of MNEs" to host countries, that MNEs "assist greatly" in the development process, and that many of the questions are geared more to developing economies than industrialized countries.
Wages and benefits in MNEs in Nicaragua are better than those prescribed by law and exceed those paid by other private enterprises, reports the Government.
According to the Government of Nigeria, MNEs offer wages, fringe benefits and conditions of work which compare favourably with those of other employers. Indeed, they often set the pace because the salaries and wages offered are reviewed periodically to accommodate inflation and other economic changes. In recent times, MNEs have introduced dollar-denominated remuneration packages to facilitate the international transfer of local executives. MNEs are constantly reminded and encouraged to assume their social responsibilities vis-à-vis the communities in which they operate, especially in the oil producing region. Activities undertaken include environmental protection, the awarding of scholarships, creation of jobs for locals, and the extension of modern company-owned facilities such as electricity, hospitals and schools for use by local communities. The views of the Nigeria Employers' Consultative Association are the same as the Government's. The Nigeria Labour Congress reports that wages and benefits in MNEs are among the best in the country, but that conditions of work are in no way comparable to those which prevail in their home countries. There is no national policy to help lower income groups and less developed areas; this is left to the initiative of MNEs through their community relations programmes.
According to the Government, wages in all enterprises in Norway are determined by either collective or individual agreements. Wages in MNEs are, to a large extent, regulated by collective agreements. With regard to other benefits and conditions of work, national legislation provides only the minimum require-ments which must be adhered to by MNEs. The Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry is in agreement with the Government's statement.
According to the Government of Pakistan, working conditions in MNEs compare "quite favourably" with those in other enterprises. Workers in MNEs do not receive less than the amount stipulated by the Minimum Wages Ordinance. They are paid "reasonable wages" that, to a great extent, satisfy their basic needs. MNEs are required to abide by the national minimum wage legislation. The Employers' Federation of Pakistan notes that wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are better than those in local enterprises. National policies governing FDI have been simplified to encourage investment. Incentives offered include exemptions from import regulations and duties. In order to improve job opportunities for people in less developed areas, tax breaks and other concessions are offered to enterprises that locate in these areas.
The Government reports that foreign investors in privatized SOEs in Poland conclude agreements with workers' organizations, guaranteeing that remuneration and social security entitlements will be maintained for a specified period after the change of ownership. However, certain MNEs have been found not to respect the regulations concerning remuneration. The Independent Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarno" reports that wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs in Poland are better than those offered by local enterprises. No new measures of the kind referred to in question (2) have been undertaken.
The Government of Portugal reports that MNEs, like national enterprises must apply the minimum wage in force and the relevant provisions of applicable collective agreements. In some cases wages, bonuses, food allowances and other payments to workers in MNEs exceed those set out in collective agreements and are higher than those paid by national enterprises. The General Union of Workers attributes the wage differentials between foreign and local enterprises to the extra payments, including productivity bonuses, that are added to the basic wages of workers in MNEs in Portugal. Wage increases in multinationals have been higher than the national average and in MNEs in the chemical industry, increases have been decided by administrative decrees.
The Government of Romania has not adopted any special measures to benefit lower income groups and less developed areas.
The St. Vincent Employers' Federation notes that most MNEs offer better wages, benefits and working conditions than local enterprises. The Government's policy is to set up industrial estates and encourage MNEs to set up business in these estates, with a view to creating jobs in low-income areas.
The Singapore National Employers' Federation notes that because of the slow-down in economic growth that has been forecast, and other global developments, countries will have to take certain measures to stay competitive. However, employers have not responded in a proactive manner when it comes to managing their employees' benefit schemes. Instead of absorbing the increases in employees' benefits, firms will have to resort to innovative practices to contain costs if they are to cope with these increases. One national study advocated the introduction of flexible benefit schemes as one response to the challenge of enabling enterprises to be more competitive, better prepared to deal with future cost increases and to maintain a satisfied and productive workforce. A few MNEs have taken the lead in adopting and implementing flexible benefit schemes. The experiences gained from the successful implementation of such schemes will also benefit local enterprises. Both MNEs and national enterprises provide employees who return after overseas assignments with certain options, such as greater responsibilities and internal transfers. However, most of them preferred to place these employees in their former positions. Some provided extra fringe benefits such as accommodation, transport and medical facilities.
According to the Government, conditions of work, including wages, in MNEs in Slovakia are established through collective bargaining. The Act on collective bargaining stipulates the procedures for concluding collective agreements and workers have the right to be represented by their trade unions in these negotiations. The minimum wage is established by law and all employers, including MNEs, are expected to comply with these provisions.
The Government of Slovenia states that it is not in a position to comment on wages, benefits and other conditions of work offered by MNEs since data on wages paid to individuals are confidential. However, it is generally believed that the wages of blue-collar workers in domestic and foreign enterprises are either around or above the national average, while the pay of salaried employees is considerably better (i.e. above average). Legislation aimed at accelerating the development of less developed areas was enacted and it provides some fiscal incentives to attract investment into those regions. No special measures have been adopted to enable lower income groups and less developed areas to benefit directly from the activities of MNEs.
The Government of Spain reports that wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs are determined in keeping with the national labour legislation. In accordance with section 27.1 of the Workers' Statute, minimum wages are set by the Government each year, in consultation with the most representative employers' and workers' organizations. During the period covered by the survey those minima were set by the following Royal Decrees: 3/1992 of 10 January; 44/1993 of 15 January; 2318/1993 of 29 December; and 2548/1994 of 29 December. The statutory minimum wage is enough to satisfy both the needs of the individual and the family, and it is particularly favourable to those income groups with relatively weak bargaining power. The Workers' Statute which was approved by Legislative Decree No. 1/95 of 24 March prescribes leave periods, the duration of the normal working day and other conditions of work which apply to all enterprises, regardless of their ownership and size. Wages and working conditions are also determined through collective bargaining. The General Union of Workers reports that MNEs in Spain pay wages that are around the average national wage. In some cases the wages exceed this. Benefits and working conditions in MNEs are usually better than those in other enterprises. This may be attributed to company policies, and practices which may be transposed from the home country. On the whole, there are no special measures for encouraging MNEs to locate in less developed areas. There are a few government programmes under which fiscal and other economic advantages are offered to encourage both national and multinational enterprises to invest in specific areas.
The Government of Sri Lanka states that wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are generally more favourable than those in comparable local enterprises. As part of its strategy to provide employment for people in less developed areas, the location of factories has been decentralized. The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has assumed responsibility for investment throughout the country. The Employers' Federation of Ceylon, referring to MNEs that belong to its organization, reports that wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs in Sri Lanka are generally fixed through collective bargaining, and are of a higher standard than those prescribed by law. The Lanka Jathika Estate Workers' Union notes that apart from the minimum wages fixed by the Wages Board that cover some categories of workers in MNEs in Sri Lanka, there appear to be no other standards which govern wages in these enterprises. Certain MNEs that are in a position to offer better pay, tend none the less to stick to the statutory minimum wage.
The Government of Swaziland states that wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by most MNEs are more favourable than those offered by comparable national employers. They generally exceed the minima prescribed under the Wages Regulation Order. In other industries such as agriculture and forestry, workers are provided with basic amenities such as housing, medical care and food. Staff of the Labour Commissioner's Office carry out regular inspections to make sure that the amenities are in accordance with the provisions of the relevant ILO Conventions ratified by the country. The Government is considering the introduction of a national minimum wage, and a 1995 study in this regard was carried out with the assistance of the ILO.
The Government of Sweden reports that wages in foreign-owned MNEs in mining and manufacturing are generally higher than those in comparable local enterprises -- around 8 or 9 per cent in 1992 and 1993 (calculated from data in table in report). The Swedish Employers' Confederation and the Federation of Swedish Industries state that they have nothing new to add to the Government's report.
The Central Union of Swiss Employers' Associations indicates that wages paid by MNEs are comparable to those paid by national enterprises. On the whole, large enterprises, many of which are MNEs, offer better wages than smaller establishments. By law, work permits for foreigners may only be granted if the employer offers remuneration and working conditions comparable to those granted to Swiss nationals holding similar positions. Under the Bonny Order, measures are to be adopted to support economically less developed regions. Some of these may facilitate the establishment of MNEs. According to the Federation of Commerce, Transport and Food Industries Workers' Union, wages in national and multinational enterprises in Switzerland are comparable and national collective agreements (e.g. in the chocolate/confectionery industry) apply to all enterprises regardless of their ownership.
The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic indicates that, in principle, MNEs offer good wages, benefits and conditions of work. While there have been no measures to enable less developed areas to benefit from MNEs' activities, these areas do gain advantages from the activities of MNEs operating there. The Chamber of Industry shares the views of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, but does not state whether less developed areas benefit from the presence of MNEs.
The Government of Thailand supports the principles of the Declaration with regard to wages, benefits and conditions of work. No new measures of the kind referred to in question (2) have been adopted.
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago reports that since the country's experience with MNEs is very limited, its reply focuses on wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs operating under the terms of the Free Zone Act No. 33 of 1995. Remuneration and working conditions in these companies compare favourably with those in enterprises outside of the free zone. While there are no specific measures adopted to enable lower income groups or less developed areas to benefit from the activities of MNEs, lower-income groups benefit from the spin-off activities. The Employers' Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago indicates that wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by MNEs are within local norms and that it is not aware of any new measures adopted by the Government to help low-income groups and less developed areas.
According to the Government of Tunisia, the national legislation relating to wages and working conditions applies to all enterprises, including MNEs. However, the standards observed by those multinationals which operate on a permanent basis in the country differ from those applied by MNEs working on projects for specific periods (e.g. major public works). The former offer better wages, benefits, working conditions and amenities than comparable local companies. They have better structures for labour-management consultation, and also have annual profit-sharing schemes. Their policies and practices are closely followed by the parent company. In contrast, the standards applied by MNEs involved in projects of limited duration are sometimes even lower than those in comparable local enterprises. They pay the guaranteed minimum wage only, working conditions are unsatisfactory, and adequate medical coverage is not provided. Workers have no representation and arrangements for social dialogue are not effective. According to the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, MNEs offer wages, benefits and conditions of work compatible with the national social legislation. Both national and multinational enterprises are encouraged by the Government to establish businesses in less developed areas of the country.
The Government of Turkey states that wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are no less favourable than those offered by other employers. MNEs make an important contribution to conditions of work and life. They provide above-average wages, and working conditions are in line with the Government's policies. They provide workers with basic amenities such as medical care, housing allowances, food and transport. There have been no new measures to enable lower income groups and less developed areas to benefit from MNEs' activities. According to the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations, MNEs are subject to the same labour laws as domestic enterprises. The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions notes that wages, benefits and conditions of work in MNEs are not less favourable than those in other enterprises. It confirms that no new measures have been adopted by the Government to allow lower income groups to benefit from MNEs' operations.
Wages, benefits and conditions of employment are agreed between employers and workers, or their representatives in all enterprises, states the Government of the United Kingdom. There is no government intervention, provided that there is no discrimination based on sex, race or trade union affiliation. Government is of the view that interference in these matters would be "neither practicable nor desirable" since it would increase the costs to employers and have adverse effects on job opportunities. Research by the OECD has shown that MNEs in the UK pay higher wages and offer more stable employment than other enterprises. However, the Government points out that factors such as the size of operations, type of industrial activity and the concentration of MNEs in certain sectors have a significant bearing on these results. Subject to strict conditions, "regional selective assistance" is offered to attract investment and create jobs in regions with high levels of unemployment. Inward investment and employment in disadvantaged regions are promoted through regional development organizations, but these initiatives do not constitute "special incentives" as understood in paragraph 45 of the Tripartite Declaration. Wages and benefits in MNEs reflect market conditions, reports the Confederation of British Industry. Like other large companies in the UK, many MNEs pay above-average wages to workers in certain occupational categories.
The Government states that in general, there are no significant differences between the wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by MNEs and those offered by other comparable enterprises in the United States. All enterprises are subject to the same laws pertaining to occupational health and safety, minimum wages and collective bargaining. By virtue of the operation of the free labour market, it is assumed that both domestic and foreign firms in the US offer competitive wages and benefits in order to attract and retain employees. Investment incentives should be carefully limited to avoid distorting the efficient allocation of investment resources, adversely affecting the industry and trade of other countries and wasting government revenues. There are certain federal and state programmes to encourage investment in disadvantaged regions. While such programmes are important at the local level, they concern only a small percentage of total investment and do not constitute a significant exception to the US policy of limiting investment incentives so as to avoid market distortions.
The Government of Uruguay states that wages and salaries are determined by collective agreements which apply to individual enterprises or to different branches of economic activity. The national minimum wage must be respected. Uruguay has signed agreements with different countries (e.g. Argentina and Brazil) enabling workers to be covered by the social security system of their home country, during the time that they work in the other country, up to a maximum period of 12 months. The Free Zones Act of 17 December 1987 requires that 75 per cent of workers in enterprises in the zones be citizens of Uruguay. As regards foreign workers, Decree No. 454/88 of 8 July 1988 states that they decide whether or not they wish to have social security coverage in the host country. As regards question (2), no measures have been adopted.
The Government reports that wages, benefits and working conditions in MNEs in Venezuela are generally much better than those offered by other employers. No measures have been adopted to enable lower income groups and less developed areas to benefit from the activities of MNEs. The Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Manufacturers' Associations (FEDECAMARAS) states that the majority of MNEs surveyed have been found to offer better benefits and working conditions than comparable national enterprises and the public sector. In many cases workers in MNEs are paid as much as four times more than their counterparts in other companies, and other benefits such as medical assistance are also provided to family members. FEDECAMARAS believes that governments should give special incentives, including the provision of utilities and infrastructure, to encourage MNEs to set up business in less developed regions.
The Government reports that since Zambia does not have an official poverty line (i.e. the minimum income level needed to satisfy basic needs) it has not fixed a statutory minimum wage. Wages are determined through collective bargaining and on the basis of the employer's ability to pay. Working conditions are negotiated, taking into account the relevant national labour laws. According to the available information, a number of MNEs offer wages and working conditions that are not less favourable than those contained in the National Joint Council collective agreements covering various industries, and those prescribed by the Minister of Labour and Social Security in keeping with the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act No. 28 of 1982. Because of its commitment to the principle of free collective bargaining, the Government has not adopted any new special measures to enable lower income groups and less developed areas to benefit from MNEs' activities, in terms of conditions of work and life.
The Government of Zimbabwe states that MNEs usually offer wages and benefits which are in keeping with the terms of collective agreements, while some offer wages which are above the minimum stipulated in the agreements. MNEs are being encouraged to invest in rural areas, especially in the designated "growth points". The Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe states that wages, benefits and conditions of work offered by MNEs are generally comparable with those offered by national enterprises, with some MNEs offering better conditions. Conditions of work are the subject of collective bargaining and the labour legislation prohibits employers from offering conditions that are less favourable than those stipulated by law. The Government is encouraging investment in certain areas identified as "growth points" and to this end, the infrastructure in these areas is being upgraded.
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Globalization and Workers' Rights