To strengthen skills and capabilities within our Employee Relations community – around 60 people worldwide – three regional workshops took place in 2013: in Italy, Thailand and the Dominican Republic. During the workshops, Employee Relations managers shared good practice and challenges on labour and compliance topics.
Union settles with Nestlé Japan after 31 years
In October 2013, the Nestlé Japan Labor Union and the Hyogo Prefectural Federation of Trade Unions (Hyogo-roren) settled a dispute with Nestlé Japan that has rumbled on since the early 1980s.
During that time, Nestlé Japan was denounced for the discriminative treatment and unfair dismissal of union workers. In 2005, the union, along with the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren), filed a complaint against Nestlé Japan in the OECD (local National Contact Point).
A joint statement from Zenroren and the Nestlé Japan Labor Union welcomes the fact that the agreement will set a precedent to prevent or solve labour disputes with foreign multinationals operating in Japan. Nestlé Japan and the union are very satisfied with this agreement and will continue work in a constructive way
Improving industrial relations through leadership behaviours
In 2009, the industrial relations climate at our Cabuyao factory in the Philippines was tense, with dismissed employees and high levels of mistrust affecting reputation and operational efficiency, as well as the costs associated with security and litigation.
The factory’s management adopted a strategy that aimed to settle the legal cases, improve staff–management relations and reach out to the community.
To achieve this, the factory was selected as a pilot to implement Nestlé Continuous Excellence to align the factory’s goals with the market, and to cascade these priorities to all workers. Union representatives were invited to contribute to this ‘goal alignment’ process.
Greater cooperation between leaders and employees was also evident in:
- Factory leaders asking trade unions for their support when introducing key initiatives;
- Coaching on supportive behaviours being offered to all levels of employee, including managers;
- The introduction of a recognition programme where positive behaviours and staff achievements are highlighted; and
- A five-year Creating Shared Value programme on rural development, supported by the community around the factory and local government, to foster mutual trust with the trade unions.
Together, these efforts have brought about a 43% reduction in security costs over five years, reinforced the credibility and reputation of the factory, and improved employee engagement.
The factory also received ‘outstanding’ citations for ‘industrial peace and harmony’ and ‘corporate social responsibility’ from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines.
This has recently culminated in the final official closure of the labour dispute between Nestlé and the former Cabuyao union, UFE-DFA-KMU. With this now resolved, lessons learnt and with the Nestlé Continuous Excellence foundations established, the whole factory team is in an excellent place to move forward from this significant milestone.