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Organization Name

Areas S.A.

Case Story Title

Development of the ethical principles and work policy of Areas in Argentina

Case Story Date

2003/12/09

Issues Addressed

  • Principle 3 - Businesses should uphold freedom of association & effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  • Principle 6 - Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation

Case Story Category

Partnership Project

Countries of Impact

Argentina

Case Description

This case study refers to the global compact principles number 3 and 6 that support the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining and the suppression of discrimination with regards to employment and occupation.

Introduction

The work policy of AREAS clearly states that all employees in the organization regardless of their geographical location will have the same working rights and opportunities with respect to employment, training, promotion and working conditions.

When our Argentinean subsidiary was incorporated to the group its situation was similar to the rest of the companies in the country. As a result of the deep economic crisis, the contractual situation of most of the employees was unstable and atypical. The organizational structure of the company was not clear, resulting in irregularities regarding salaries and the designation of responsibilities. The workers did not have equal opportunities and their rights were not well defined. The payment of salaries was uncertain; sometimes these were paid one week or even one month later than normal. All of this produced economic insecurity and emotional instability amongst employees.

Actions taken by AREAS

The first objective of the company was to apply and develop the ethical principles and work policy of Areas. The intention was to ensure a fair and equal treatment to all the workers and regain their trust by guaranteeing their rights.

The process had different steps:

First, a meeting was held with all the employees to explain that they were becoming part of a Spanish multinational firm and inform them of the changes that this would imply.

Next, in most of the centers, Areas negotiated with the trade unions (sometimes directly with the employees) the new working conditions and labor rights.

Finally, job positions were standardized and a salary structure was defined according to the new responsibilities assigned. But most of all and throughout all the process, Areas actively listened and took into consideration the needs and concerns of all the employees.Progress up to date

Areas understood the importance of its employees' contribution in order to successfully develop its operations. For this reason, the company undertook the following actions:

* Creation of a Human Resource Committee formed by employees of different levels in the organization to facilitate communication horizontally and vertically.
* Training opportunities inside and outside the organization detailing business plans and defining procedures for professional development.
* Acquisition of safety equipment for workers and implementation of preventive measures to minimize accidents.

Through time and despite of the initial distrust, today Areas' employees recognize the long and short term benefits that come with a balanced and motivated work force. Nowadays the employees trust the company; they are confident of receiving a fair salary by the end of the month and an honest treatment without discrimination. They know they will have the same opportunities and the same rights as the rest of the workers of Areas in 7 different countries.

The future

But most important and regardless of the Argentinean crisis, Areas remains committed to the investment and the development of its operations in the country. This ensures the employment level to be in equal conditions as any other countries in the western world, hence securing the wellbeing of the workforce and consequently the success of Areas.

Authors

Unknown authors

Contact Person

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Note: Responsibility for the content of Case Stories and any other public communication related to the Global Compact principles and their implementation lies with participants themselves and not with the UN Global Compact Office.