“Explore the intricate link between labour rights and merger & acquisition transactions, emphasizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Learn about job losses, changes in terms, collective bargaining, and legal implications. Discover the impact on SDG goals like Decent Work, Reduced Inequality, Peace & Justice, and Global Partnerships. Stay informed about the crucial balance between commercial growth and worker protection.”

A merger and acquisition transaction serves as the legally enforceable foundation for global commercialization. Concerns about human rights violations in merger and acquisition transactions have grown as a result of growing globalization. The main business transfers the obligations to the buyer during M&A transactions. Either the customer or the vendor is required to reveal and fulfill these duties and obligations. The vendor needs to concentrate on and transaction with employment law concerns that come up after the M&A transaction has been completed. The majority of the time, emerging nations are more susceptible to issues like population explosions, poverty, inequality, and the negative impacts of climate change, which frequently make employees more vulnerable. This blog’s main focus will be on the labour rights component of M&A transactions.

With the onset of globalization and the integration of international economies, the commercialization of everything has become the major emphasis. One of the key components that bind commercialization globally is M&A activity. Concerns about human rights violations in merger and acquisition transactions have grown as a result of growing globalization. The main business transfers the obligations to the buyer during M&A deals. Either the buyer or the seller is required to disclose and fulfill such duties and obligations. The vendor needs to concentrate on and deal with employment law concerns that come up after the M&A deal has been completed.

Employees are more vulnerable in rising nations due to population growth, poverty, inequality, and the adverse effects of climate change. According to World Investment Report 2020,[1] “the internationalization rate of companies from developing and transition economies increased by almost 2%, with foreign assets and sales growing fastest.” The fact that local rules are not being followed as per international standards is one of the main concerns with this quick investment. In developing nations like Thailand, India, and others, bonded slavery and child labour have been reported, which has increased worries about worker rights there.

The goal of this current study is to include worker rights considerations in M&A deals. It is crucial to take into account the process’s hazards as well as the specific effects these transactions would have on workers’ rights. The essay also investigates and offers a roadmap for the modifications required in the M&A transaction process to safeguard human rights.

Linkage with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • Goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth) – Goal 8 emphasizes the importance of promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. It is directly relevant to the topic at hand, as it highlights the need to ensure that workers’ rights are protected and that employment opportunities are created and sustained.
  • Goal 10 (Reduced inequality) – Goal 10 is concerned with reducing inequalities and ensuring no one is left behind are integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Inequality within and among countries is a persistent cause for concern and is directly related to the topic as the paper discusses the rights of the employees or workers involved in M&A transactions within countries and between them too while discussing how the companies should ensure their corporate social responsibility
  • Goal 16 (Peace and Justice strong institutions) – Goal 16 is centered on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. This goal is relevant to the topic, as it highlights the importance of ensuring that legal frameworks and institutions exist to protect workers’ rights, and that these frameworks are effectively implemented and enforced.
  • Goal 17 (Partnerships to achieve the goal) – Goal 17 is about revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda is universal and calls for action by all countries – developed and developing – to ensure no one is left behind. It requires partnerships between governments, the private sector, and civil society. As merger and acquisition transactions can take place both inside the borders of a State and between the borders of two or more States, it is the responsibility of all States involved in the M&A transactions to cooperate among them to ensure the rights of the workers involved in the concerned transactions.

The process through which two or more companies join or one company buys another is referred to as a merger or acquisition (M&A). The impact of M&A on the labour rights of the engaged employees might be significant.

Here are some of the key labour rights implications of M&A transactions:

Job Losses: As businesses frequently attempt to minimize costs and eliminate redundancy, M&A might result in job losses. In rare instances, entire departments or divisions may be shut down, which would mean that everyone working in those areas would lose their jobs. Under local labour rules, workers who lose their jobs as a result of M&A deals may be entitled to redundancy payments or other compensation.

Changes to Terms and Conditions: Affected employees’ employment terms and conditions may change as a result of M&A transactions. Changes to income, benefits, working hours, and job responsibilities could all be part of this. Employers must make sure that any modifications are implemented in accordance with regional labour regulations, communicate with the workforce, and provide employees sufficient advance notice of any changes.

Collective Bargaining: Companies involved in M&A transactions must abide by any existing collective bargaining agreements if the affected employees are represented by a trade union. In order to negotiate any modifications to the terms and conditions of employment, the corporations must also bargain in good faith with the representatives of the trade unions.

Transfer of Undertakings: The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), which mandate that the employment contracts of impacted employees be transferred to the new employer on their current terms and conditions, may be triggered by M&A transactions in various jurisdictions. This is done to safeguard workers from losing their jobs or having their terms and conditions changed negatively as a result of the transaction. 

Consultation Requirements: There may be legal requirements for the corporations involved to speak with employee representatives or trade unions, depending on the scope of the M&A transaction and the number of people affected. Before making any decisions about job losses, terms and conditions adjustments, or other key employment-related issues, this consultation should be held.

In conclusion, M&A transactions may have a substantial impact on the workers’ labour rights. Companies interested in these deals should conduct sincere conversations with employee representatives or labour unions and be mindful of their obligations under local labour regulations. Additionally, employers should make sure that any modifications to the terms and conditions of employment are reasonable and in accordance with all applicable rules and laws.

[1] International Production beyond the pandemic, World Investment Report, 2020, United Nations.

Author Bio

Qualification: LL.B / Advocate
Company: N/A
Location: Katni, Madhya Pradesh, India
Member Since: 24 Apr 2023 | Total Posts: 1

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