Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining7 min
As a member of the UN Global Compact, dormakaba respects the right of all workers to form and join a trade union without fear of intimidation or reprisal, in accordance with national laws.
Why it matters
The right of employees to form or join trade unions and employee representative organizations of their own choice fosters our constructive dialogue culture at all our locations. For dormakaba, this also facilitates structured communication with our employees on fair working conditions, reducing turnover and achieving high performance and engagement amongst members of our workforce. Our aim is to ensure employees feel comfortable in communicating openly with their leaders and managers.
As a member of the UN Global Compact, dormakaba respects the right of all workers to form and join a trade union without fear of intimidation or reprisal, in accordance with national laws. Furthermore, our employees are free to collectively bargain, if they so desire.
We work proactively with employee representative bodies to achieve positive results for both employees and the company. Collective bargaining agreements are in effect in various locations including Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA. In Poland, alternative employee representation is in place which is also based on a transparent election process. However, the committee serves in a more consultative capacity.
To guarantee the right of all workers to form and join a trade union and to bargain collectively, dormakaba focuses on two areas:
- Identifying risks, fostering openness and transparency
- Negotiating for mutual benefit and performance gains
Identifying risks, fostering openness and transparency
In the financial year 2017/18, we conducted a comprehensive impact assessment along our value chain (see Outro) to identify which sustainability topics were most relevant in which geographical areas and steps along the value chain. The sustainability impact assessment revealed that some countries like China, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and the USA present a higher risk when it comes to respecting the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. Hence, dormakaba explicitly fosters and ensures that employees can engage in unions and works councils in all our operating regions and business segments.
Specifically, our actions in the financial year 2018/19 included:
- Access Solutions (AS) APAC facility in Suzhou (China) has a trade union that supports many employee initiatives and activities. Employees may engage in different committees such as the Employee Welfare Committee and the Employee Food Committee.
- AS APAC subsidiary in Taiwan explicitly forbids: (1) threatening, disciplining, punishing, or firing workers because they exercise this right; (2) refusing to hire a candidate because of their association with trade unions; and (3) blacklisting of union organizers by providing their names and details of their activities to other employers, or to employers’ associations.
- AS AMER has completed a renewal of the collective bargaining agreement with the employee union at the Steeleville, Illinois manufacturing facility. In the months leading up to the negotiations, we had made plans to close the facility in the coming years. We informed the union voluntarily of this fact before the start of negotiations, in order to be as open and transparent as possible during the negotiations process. In the end, the parties landed on an agreement that suited mutual interests.
Negotiating for mutual benefit and performance gains
dormakaba regularly engages in negotiations of provisions in collective bargaining agreements. These collective bargaining agreements allow dormakaba to improve its business practices but also to offer improved employment provisions for staff. For this reason, some local entities put works councils in place to ensure the representation of all employees.
Examples of our collective bargaining agreements in the financial year 2018/19 included:
- In Australia, dormakaba engaged with employees and unions, prior to the commencement of formal bargaining, in order to determine staff priorities. The new Enterprise Agreements include a four-day week trial for Victorian Service Technicians, as well as the introduction of a compressed working week for the Queensland-based Service Technicians. For the latter, employees work a nine-day fortnight, meaning they work nine days every two weeks. They get an extra day off every second week by working a little longer on the other days.
- In Germany, bargaining negotiations were conducted or are still in-process for the sites in Villingen-Schwenningen, Dreieich and Bühl. Various agreements on technical improvements and process standardizations were concluded or implemented. One highlight is the provision for families, with either small children or with care cases, and for employees working shifts to convert an unconditional one-off payment granted to all employees into additional days off.
- In Italy, the Key Systems business unit seamlessly transitioned into a renewed works council, which allowed it to reach agreement regarding overtime, the use of accrued holidays on a rotational basis to contain labor costs, and on the company’s targets in the collective bargaining agreement that cover topics such as profitability, quality and efficiency. These targets are then used to determine the variable part of the compensation.
In the financial year 2018/19, 64% of our employees were covered by collective bargaining agreements. This underscores the importance we place on fostering openness and transparency with trade unions and works councils to negotiate for mutual benefit and improved employment provisions. Our most significant achievement last year in securing and improving core labor rights for employees is demonstrated in the examples above – specifically in Australia, Italy, Germany and the USA. However, our biggest challenge remains in respecting the right to collectively bargain in countries where this is factually or legally impeded.
In the financial year 2019/20, the AS EMEA in Italy will introduce one collective agreement which applies to all employees. Additionally, AS EMEA in Belgium is in the process of organizing social elections in which employees can elect their representatives for the works council and/or the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work out of the lists proposed by the unions. The entity is required by law to organize the social elections for the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work every four years.