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. These principles are based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as well as the 3 main principles of the Resolution on Forced Labour by the Consumer Goods Forum. Accordingly, our guiding principles contain the right to free unionisation and 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 regional headquarters, stores and logistics centres. In order to improve the working conditions in the national subsidiaries, corrective action plans are defined 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 were performed in 15 national subsidiaries (Pakistan, Bulgaria, Japan, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, India, Slovakia, Moldova, Spain, Russia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Portugal and France). Many areas returned satisfactory results, while others showed potential for improvement, in particular in the area of occupational safety. The on-site audits were followed by comprehensive training on the METRO principles on fair working conditions. Additional audits of the METRO Wholesale companies are planned for financial year 2019/20 with the objective of auditing all METRO companies and continuously working on improvement measures.
In cooperation with the Amfori Business Social Compliance Initiative (Amfori BSCI), a special course on forced labour was piloted at the national subsidiaries in Turkey and Pakistan in financial year 2017/18 and continued in Ukraine and Bulgaria in financial year 2018/19. 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 be introduced 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. Based on a survey at METRO Wholesale as well as a few service companies in the previous 2 financial years, 73% of METRO employees were globally represented by works councils, employee representatives and trade unions or covered by collective agreements.