A trade union guide to understanding the Asian Development Bank (ADB)

This toolkit traces the advocacy measures the global unions federations (GUFs) have undertaken so far in engaging with the ADB in the implementation of Core Labour Standards in all loan operations. Global unions have been engaging in dialogue and negotiating for the creation of a Labor Desk or a similar structure at the ADB for some time now, so that there can be more responsive two-way engagements in the implementation of Core Labor standards (CLS) in all loan operations

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) published its Handbook on Core Labour Standards in 2005, wherein it committed to comply with the internationally recognised core labour standards (CLS) and related labour laws in the design, formulation and operation of its loans. The handbook was an output of a formal collaboration between ADB and the International Labour Organization (ILO), and stems from the Bank’s 2001 Social Protection Strategy. But it has been found that even after the formal commitment, there are many cases of CLS violations, in the form of union busting, harassment or physical violence against unions and discrimination and dismissals and other work-related anti-union/worker actions etc. in their projects.

In a series of research findings, the global unions federations found that workers’ rights were not protected in the ADB projects, even after the bank’s formal commitment to do so during the adoption of the Handbook on Core Labour Standards in 2006. Thus, there is an increased need to monitor the bank and ensure that the ADB respects it commitment towards worker rights.

The joint GUFs/FNV Project on Adherence to CLS in ADB-funded projects in India sought to develop resources and improve capacity amongst participating GUFs/Unions and its affiliates, so that they can take up issues of observance of CLS in ADB projects in India. This toolkit is being tailored to serve as a resource book for organisations and unions monitoring the ADB. It gives a simplistic understanding of the structure, policies and core sectors of the ADB. and can be used to for the orientation and capacity-building of grassroot activists.

Download and read the on-line version or contact Manoranjan Pegu, Project Coordinator or the PSI Sub-regional office for South Asia  for further information or to order printed copies.