Our key takeaway: Prohibiting products made with forced labour - good in principle; but so long as this prohibition does not come at the expense of workers, and tackling the root cause of forced labor. A large number of organisations have written to the European Commission with their demands of the European Commission’s legislative proposal for a ‘regulation on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market.’ The signatories underscore the importance of providing remediation for workers in situations of forced labour; tackling the root cause of forced labour; involving workers in the investigation process; assessing any potential unintended consequences of the ban; and providing protections to workers raising issues. When it comes to the inter-connection between this import ban, and the EU’s due diligence directive, the signatories make clear that due diligence cannot protect companies from investigations - but may help companies prove that they have provided remediation and sought to prevent recurrence of forced labour - so long as ‘tick box’ due diligence is not allowed (aka: code of conducts, social audits, and contractual clauses). In short: let’s not forget why this law is being proposed in the first place, to make things better for workers trapped in their workplaces.
A large number of civil society organisations, coalitions and trade unions have published: ‘Civil Society Statement on the Proposed Regulation on Prohibiting Products Made With Forced Labour on the Union Market’ (October 2022):