This paper discusses IFAs in terms of whether they can realize the implementation of certain core international labour standards through the encouragement of the respect for freedom of association (the right to join a union) at diverse geographical and functional levels within MNCs and their supply chains. It assesses this through interviews with GUFs, an on-line survey directed at union leaders conducted in Latin America and Africa and a critical review of the main academic literature on IFAs. Based on this, the paper identifies some critical factors that unionists have to face in order to put IFAs into practice such as some companies’ resistance to and fear of the unknown; lack of perception of IFAs’ added value on the part of some MNCs; possible tensions between unions; divergent opinions (about IFAs) within the same MNCs; failures of communication within MNCs and among workers’ representatives; a need on both sides (MNCs and trade unions) to improve both awareness and education about IFAs; a need for more active involvement in an IFAs approach by both local managers and local unions; and the widespread practice of outsourcing. The respective attitudes toward this tool on the part of practitioners and the academics are contrasted whenever possible.

Additional Metadata
Keywords international framework agreements, trade unions rights, multinationals, labour internationalism
Thesis Advisor Schiphorst, Freek
Persistent URL
Series Work, Employment and Globalisation (WEG)
Estepa, Ana Muñoz. (2011, December 15). International Framework Agreements : Distinguishing Between Rhetoric and Practice. Work, Employment and Globalisation (WEG). Retrieved from