Human rights and employer-employee relationships
Our guiding principles on fair working conditions and social partnership are a crucial component in shaping our employer-employee relations. They are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as well as the 3 main principles of the Resolution on Forced Labour by the Consumer Goods Forum. Accordingly, our guiding principles deal with issues such as free unionisation, the right to collective agreements, structured working hours and wages, occupational safety and health management as well as the prohibition of forced labour, child labour and discrimination.
We ensure that our sales lines and their national subsidiaries comply with the principles of fair working conditions by auditing our head offices, stores and logistics centres. In order to improve the working conditions in the national subsidiaries, specific plans are being drawn up with the local colleagues, in which substantive measures with clear responsibilities and timetables are defined and executed. Since financial year 2016/17, extensive audits on compliance with the METRO principles have been performed in 11 national subsidiaries (Pakistan, Bulgaria, China, Japan, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, India, Slovakia, Moldova and Spain). Many areas returned promising results, while others showed potential for improvement, in particular in the area of occupational safety. All on-site audits were followed by comprehensive training on the METRO principles on fair working conditions. Audits are scheduled for 6 additional national subsidiaries in financial year 2018/19. METRO has set itself the goal to complete the auditing of all METRO Wholesale companies by 2020.
In addition, a training programme on forced labour was piloted in collaboration with the Amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (Amfori BSCI) in the reporting period. The objective is to train METRO employees to recognise forced labour within the supply chain and to support the appropriate ability to act. The training will also be rolled out in all METRO countries by 2020.
On a national and international level, METRO maintains constant communication with works councils and unions and encourages management to engage in constructive and mutually informative dialogue with our employees and their representatives. This dialogue resulted in several collective employment agreements at the level of business units, countries or individual stores – depending on local laws and customary practices.
After successful contract negotiations, a new European Works Council Committee was established in February 2018.