CP oct 2011 UITA
safety, working conditions and stress
Danone and the IUF have signed the first worldwide agreement on health, safety, working conditions and stress. This agreement continues the long tradition of social dialogue at a global level initiated by Danone and IUF since 1988.
By signing this agreement on health and safety, working conditions and stress, Danone and the IUF go one step further, addressing concerns that are shared by employees in all countries. This is the first time that such firm commitments have been made over such a wide geographical scale. Danone has more than 100,000 employees throughout the world, with more than half working in the emerging countries. This agreement applies throughout the world. It has been drawn up based on the best practices seen in mature countries and in the emerging economies.
The Danone-IUF agreement underlines the responsibilities of each party. The company is responsible for safeguarding the health and safety of its employees and all those who work on sites for which it is responsible. Safety is a management duty. The agreement lays out the following principles:
-It is imperative to take into account the human consequences of change, prior to major developments in the organisation;
– Preserving the balance between professional and personal life must be encouraged, by amongst other measures, planning working hours, rest time and leave time as far in advance as possible;
-Organizing employees in the workplace in order to identify ideas for simplification of work makes it possible both to identify efficiency solutions and also to improve employee wellbeing;
-The safety of employees comes from their participation in preventative actions but also from their right to refuse to work should they be exposed to a dangerous situation.
In addition to the general principles and reciprocal commitments, Danone and the IUF also wished to include in this agreement concrete measures for its implementation. These include but are not limited to:
-Systematic medical monitoring;
-Training in health and safety for all those who work on Danone sites;
-Training for all management staff in managing teams.
The scope of the agreement does not only cover Danone employees. A clause will be included in contracts signed with employment agencies and subcontractors to make sure that these companies ensure medical monitoring of their employees.
When he signed this agreement, Franck Riboud, Danone’s CEO, declared: “Continuing improvement in working conditions is essential for the company to enjoy sustainable performance levels. This involves healthy employees carrying out work that has been organised to ensure competitiveness, and communication that reaches all levels of the company. The agreement we are signing today fits perfectly with Danone’s dual commitment to business success and social progress, which has been inspiring us for the last 40 years.”
Ron Oswald, the general secretary of the IUF, declares: “The active participation of union members and their representatives in the processes described in the agreement represents an essential counterpart to managers with regards to its implementation. We congratulate Danone for its constant commitment to ensuring that its workers and their unions have the right and the possibility to play an active role in its practical application in Danone workplaces throughout the world.”
Danone and the IUF consider that a successful local rollout of this agreement will require commitment from the managers of local subsidiaries, a specific social dialogue on these subjects with union organisations, and participation from employees.
This is the ninth Danone/IUF agreement, following those signed on diversity, social dialogue, and the process to be followed in the event of a change in activity affecting employment or working conditions. The application of these agreements is the subject of an annual joint assessment by a Danone representative and an IUF representative. As a result, 18 countries have been audited in the last two years.