Monday 5 November 2007

Corporate Responsibility - My Arse!

Many environmentalists have labelled the efforts of big corporations to protect their brand image by appearing responsible as "green-wash". I don't know what the right word is for the same hypocrisy when applied to labour standards.

Our sector newsletter reports that while Philips' "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR) guidelines include the principle that overtime is voluntary. Presumably this was aimed to counter the image of sweat-shops in developing countries, where compulsory overtime has been a major issue. Sadly Philips don't seem to think the same protection should apply in the UK, where Philips Medical Systems is trying to force employees to sign new contracts including compulsory weekend working.

The topic of "flexible working" (flexible for who - you or your employer?) is a hot topic at Fujitsu at the moment, where the company is trying to harmonise "out of hours" working arrangements.

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