The OECD launched the process of reviewing its Principles of Corporate Governance last month (March 2014). The target is to develop a revised set of principles within a year. This review procedure is an opportunity to strengthen the role of workers as a key “stakeholder” in corporate governance these Principles.
The first set of OECD Principles of Corporate Governance were released in 1999 and revised in 2004. Such Principles can be very controversial because of widely varying views of the role that workers should play in Corporate Governance. According to the “shareholder value” view, the role of “independent” directors representing shareholders should be maximized. This however neglects the important role that worker representatives can play in good Corporate Governance.
The current revision process creates an opportunity to raise and push for workers’ concerns regarding Corporate Governance. This includes not only strengthening workers’ voice within the firm, but also increasing accountability in the investment chain, strengthening the role of long term and responsible investors and reigning in executive pay. The trade union voice in this process is organized by TUAC (Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD).