The disaster currently happening in Mediterranean sea with hundreds of migrants dying should lead us to a more global approach on migration. Last month, we talked of hiring agency in south east asia especially and their consequences.
This month, Syrian refugee in Turkey are the start of our reflexion. Since two years we are meeting many Syrian migrant workers in Turkish factories, especially in the less formal ones. As migrants and refugee, they obviously have to feed their family. They then have to work. Working conditions are quite different from one factory to another. Some factories are actually applying the same rules and benefits as for the Turkish workers, some others on the contrary, use their weakness to pay lower wages and ask higher working time. It is our job to assess these situations to allow our customers to take decision matching their own CSR policies. Obviously, discrimination against migrant workers is a sensitive topic.
However, some also ask us to check if workers are allowed to work., not for the workers protection, but on other criteria. The Turkish labor law (but also the one of most countries) states foreigners need a special authorization to work in the country. Such a law is quite logical in the management of the migration. But does this law belong to the labor law? Is it a part of the workers protection? Is it a part of the employee / employer relationship? Thus, is it logical to ask the auditing companies to check about it during a CSR audit while it is clearly relevant to the local police. Some audits’ groups are currently wondering to officially add these points in the questionnaires as these laws are included in the labor laws. But is it really where they belong? Isn’t it a much bigger change to the audit criteria than adding a simple line?
NB: that also shows we should be very careful not to mix up the questionnaires and the criteria. Questionnaires are not requirements, they are a tool only.