“Must not become a toothless tiger”

Catholic workers call for improved supply chain law © dpa

Before the Bundestag debate on a supply chain law, the Catholic Workers’ Movement calls for improvements. "The supply chain law must not become a toothless tiger," warned the Federal Chairman Andreas Luttmer-Bensmann.

With the present draft, "tens of thousands of workers would have to continue to toil without rights in supplier factories". He said the draft does not take into account the entire production and supply chain and demonstrates a "caving in to business interests that do not take labor rights into account".

After a long tug-of-war between the development, labor and economic ministries, the federal cabinet passed the law on corporate due diligence in supply chains at the beginning of March. According to the draft, large German companies must follow a staged procedure to ensure that human rights are also observed by foreign suppliers.

Environmental pollution is included insofar as it affects human rights. Violations could result in fines of up to eight million euros or temporary exclusion from public contracts. The Bundestag will debate the bill in its first reading on Thursday.

KAB complains about lack of civil liability

The Catholic Workers’ Movement (KAB) criticized the gradation of due diligence obligations and quoted from the draft. Thus, the obligations are to apply in full only to the company’s own business operations and to direct suppliers. In addition, more than 4.200 German companies that operate internationally but have less than 1.000 employees are taken out of the responsibility. There was also a lack of civil liability.

The Supply Chain Act initiative, which includes 125 organizations, had already called for improvements in March. It also criticizes the graduations, the lack of civil liability rules and the scope of the law. According to the draft, starting in 2023, the approximately 600 German companies with more than 3.The new standards will apply to more than 2,000 employees worldwide and, one year later, also to the more than 2,000 employees worldwide.600 with more than 1.000 employees.

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