DECENT WORKING HOURS: Collaborating for Shared Sustainability Objectives in the Food Sector

The agricultural supply chain poses particular labour issues which demand special ways of working to drive improvements in labour conditions. One example is the issue of seasonal work, which is common in the agriculture sector and can lead to non-compliances in areas such as working time.

Since  2014, BSCI and Vinos de Chile (Wines of Chile) a private, non-profit industry association that represents 90% of Chile’s exports of bottled wine, signed an agreement to promote socially responsible business in the wine supply chain through shared objectives. The Sustainability Code of the Chilean Wine Industry, which promotes protection of the environment and social responsibility in the supply chain, has notably been upgraded to include elements of the BSCI Code of Conduct.

How are Vinos de Chile and BSCI Working Together?

The first of the joint activities took place on 21 October 2014, through a training for suppliers of the larger wineries on “Understanding Grievance Mechanisms”. Seasonal workers can give very valuable feedback on the labour practices of the company but the appropriate internal processes need to be put in place to welcome, analyse and take actions following this feedback. The training session highlighted the benefits of worker-management dialogue and gave practical knowledge on setting up effective grievance mechanisms.

BSCI together with a consortium of Chilean universities, associations and Vinos de Chile, facilitated a Round Table on 26 March 2015 in Santiago de Chile. Seasonal work was the main topic for this meeting, because it is current working practice for primary production of wine. Working hours in the food sector therefore require a unique approach involving dialogue and collaboration with industry and stakeholders to come up with the best solution. In 2015, a new set of activities will include more trainings, and a further Round Table meeting.

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