Vic Thorpe

By: Julie Thorpe

Vic Thorpe

Vic ThorpeAs Founder and Director of the Just Solutions Network, Vic has a special interest in conflict resolution and mediation work in an industrial and wider social context.  He is a Consultant Adviser to the Compliance, Advisory and Ombudsman Office of the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group and has also facilitated the resolution of numerous disputes for leading global brands in a variety of difficult operating environments.

Vic is a recognised international expert in freedom of association and labour rights and was Chair of the JO-IN project in Turkey between the key multi-stakeholder institutions and global brands that sought to test options for harmonising compliance standards in the apparel sector.

Formerly a General Secretary (chief officer) of the global union federation ICEM (International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions) that brought together trade unions representing over 20 million workers in over 100 countries, Vic was responsible for setting up some of the earliest global framework agreements at the level of internationally-operating companies and at industry sector level between the companies and their worldwide workforce.  (The ICEM was a founding organisation of the IndustriALL Global Union Federation). Since 2003 Vic was, among other things, a lead inspector and advanced trainer for the SA8000 and BSCI global workplace social audit standards for several years, conducting inspections in over 25 countries in a wide variety of industries.

Vic has also conducted extensive training of managers, supervisors and workers in the application of ‘social dialogue’ approaches and helped to build capacity for a diverse range of NGOs and worker organisations.

He has a lifelong interest in employee ownership and is a member of the European Federation of Employee Shareholders.  Vic was an early spokesperson for alternative social production under worker control. Later, as General Secretary of a global trade union federation, he was closely involved in worker buy-outs in the US steel and paper-making sectors and was a Board Member of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State University.