Ethical employment and labour relations
The Ethical Employment Partnership which was signed with the GMB and UNI, a global union federation, in 2008 offers an additional layer of review and escalation in the event that serious matters come to light which cannot easily be resolved at a local level. As such it serves as an early warning system and also offers a structured mechanism for handling disputes which may have a significant business impact.
Many of the environments in which the company operates do not have robust labour laws or a history of social dialogue. Within the IFA, the company commits to respecting the rights established through the core labour conventions of the ILO. Having the IFA in place with regular review processes helps reassure all our stakeholders that the Company is serious about ethical employment practices and will ensure international labour laws are respected, even in countries where these may not be well established.
In the past, as well as reporting the percentage of employees covered by collective agreements, we have also been able to give an indication of the levels of union membership. The figures for union membership were based on payroll deductions made to pay union subscriptions. Since union subscriptions are increasingly collected directly from employees’ bank accounts, the company no longer has an accurate way of confirming levels of union membership across the group. We continue to have a healthy and positive relationship with trade unions across the globe and, under the framework set out in our Ethical Employment Partnership, work with them to improve employment standards.