Lately, however, the UN has got support for another business-oriented initiative: Global Compact. The initiative, a co-operation between the UN, multinational corporations, workers' organisations and NGOs, is to further human rights, labour rights, and protection of the environment.
Statoil has acceded to the nine principles the initiative is based on, and in early August, Willy H. Olsen of Statoil told radio news that this obliges Statoil to give equal treatment to all its workers, worldwide.
This, of course, is nonsense. There is no such obligation on Statoil in the nine principles. Unfortunately. The nine principles are a very limited and watered-down version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and say nothing about e.g. the freedom to organise. We look forward to the day when Statoil employees in China want to organise outside the ACFTU, the country's only authorised labour union.
Global Compact is just a new medal ribbon for Statoil to wear at festive occasions.
Norwatch Newsletter 8/00