Fostering relations with trade unions
We have developed local initiatives and training to foster relations between managers, employees and trade unions, in many countries. For example in Chile, we are strengthening relations with trade unions through scholarships and financial support to help union leaders study trade union diplomacy at university. We have also invited some trade union leaders to participate in local NCE (Nestlé Continuous Excellence) initiatives and Labour Committees.
Another good example of fostering relations with trade unions is our confectionery factory in York, where through management, worker and trade union collaboration we’ve set out to improve our safety and health performance.
Collective bargaining and freedom of association
In 2012, more than 50% of our employees worldwide were covered by collective bargaining agreements, demonstrating our strong commitment to industrial dialogue. Where local legislation does not allow minority groups to negotiate collective agreements, we maintain regular dialogue with unions on issues of common interest.
Being conscious that we operate in different social contexts in 2012, we identified markets where freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk in our factories: Brazil, Central and West Africa, Ecuador, Greater China, North East Africa, Colombia, Russia and Eurasia, Pakistan, Indochina, the Caribbean, Ukraine, the Middle East and Southern Africa. We identify high risk countries through external ratings, including the FTSE4Good Index which updates its list of high risk countries every year.
Our Employee Relations Policy and the Policy on Conditions of Work and Employment aim to address risks related to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Minimum notice period
Prior to significant operational changes that could substantially affect our employees, on average
we provide them with a minimum notice period of approximately 50 days days, although the period varies from country to country. This minimum notice period is specified in collective agreements of 26 countries.
Workplace relations challenges
We enjoy good relations with the vast majority of our unions, but even with our strong commitment and the dedication of our local managers, we still face occasional incidents. In 2012, 34 industrial actions took place globally (2011: 39) which were all resolved through dialogue and engagement at local level.
The percentage of working time lost due to industrial disputes, strikes and/or lock-outs was 0.07% (2011: 0.02%) on average.
There were 85 claims of discrimination in our operations during 2012. Of these 35 have been reviewed and a remediation plan is underway in seven cases (in four of these seven cases results are being reviewed through internal management processes). In 43 cases the incident is no longer subject to action (i.e. the situation has been resolved).