Wienerberger Social Charter signed in 2001
The Wienerberger Social Charter was signed in 2001 by the Managing Board of Wienerberger AG and the chairman of the European Forum, a social partnership body and precursor of the European Works Council in Strasbourg, to formally confirm the company’s engagement to comply with the relevant agreements and recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO). With this charter, Wienerberger demonstrates its global commitment to human rights, fair working conditions, payment of adequate remuneration, avoidance of excessive working hours, permanent employment relationships and respect for the freedom of employees to join the union of their choice and the right to participate in free collective bargaining negotiations.
European Works Council since 2011
The European Works Council (EWC) was established in 2011 as the successor to the European Forum. It addresses issues of European interest, such as strategy, investments, reorganization and streamlining measures. The goals of the European Works Council are to engage in constructive social dialogue and to facilitate networking among local bodies representing employee interests. Currently, 11 countries are represented by 32 delegates. The steering committee of the European Works Council, chaired by Gerhard Seban, includes five elected delegates from Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. The EWC meets twice a year and the steering committee holds at least two meetings a year. Following the takeover of Tondach Gleinstätten, the composition of the EWC is to be adjusted accordingly.
Improvement of workplaces and health protection as central goals
The most important objectives of the European Works Council are to improve workplace conditions (protection of employees against hazards and implementation of safety standards) and to protect the employees’ health. Another concern is to reduce the physical burden for older workers resulting from the higher retirement age by assigning them to jobs that require less physical labor. The European Works Council also strives to ensure fair and just remuneration.
National works councils: the Austrian example
In Austria, employees at all locations are represented by works councils. A Group works council, comprising employee representatives from all Wienerberger companies, was established in Austria in November 2013. Currently, it has ten members and is chaired by Gerhard Seban. The Group works council meets at least four times a year, or more often, if required. Similar structures also exist in other European countries. As required by Austrian law, several employee representatives are members of the Supervisory Board of Wienerberger and, as such, closely involved in the strategic development of the Wienerberger Group.
Plant agreements, collective bargaining agreements, or at least legal provisions
Employees in Europe are covered by a broad range of provisions, such as collective bargaining agreements, wage agreements, laws and regulations, trade-union agreements, plant agreements or individual agreements. All sites operated by Wienerberger AG are located in countries in which employees can exercise their freedom of association and their right to collective bargaining negotiations.