Core Issues

Among manufacturers and policy makers in developing countries like Vietnam , the scope and  importance of International Labor Standards are seldom well understood.

The fundamental principle and foundation of all standards is local law.  Manufacturers must adhere to local labor, environmental and safety codes in the country where they operate.

In addition to this, based on ILO Conventions, industry standards and international norms, Corporate Code and multi-stakeholder initiatives seek to give additional protections to workers and raise working standards to international levels, wherever possible and practical.

While there are many different approaches and variations among the Codes and Standards initiatives, there is also much agreement on Core Issues. 

These Core Issues include:

  • Child Labor
  • Forced Labor
  • Health and Safety
  • Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
  • Discrimination
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Working Hours
  • Compensation and Benefits

To understand these Core Issues and their application in more detail, please review the details of the codes themselves.  For example, the Fair Labor Association's Workplace Code of Conduct is available for download in either English or Vietnamese.  SA 8000 and other sample Codes of Conduct which are available on the Internet are listed on our Links page.

Many international organizations are involved in trying to define these Core Issues and how responsible businesses should adhere to them.  The International Labor Organization (ILO) has identified eight core conventions in four categories.  The United Nations has set out its own list of core concerns in its Global Compact.  These and other helpful sites with information on labor standards and related issues are listed on our Links page.
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