Sustainability case study: Smurfit Kappa has a long tradition when it comes to employee participation.
A key part of this is the European Works Council (EWC), which was created to assist in the development of an open, two-way communication process with all employees.
Recently Smurfit Kappa renewed the EWC agreement, confirming the important role it attaches to a true dialogue between management and the European Works Council.
Long-time EWC member Eddy de Jongh from Belgium is pleased with the new agreement. “Besides elements required by the European directive, Smurfit Kappa has chosen to expand our consultation rights. Smurfit Kappa commits itself to provide us with more information regarding restructuring. Furthermore, the EWC will strive to have a fair gender representation in the council and it will try to include representatives from all the countries where Smurfit Kappa is active.”
“In addition we can consult external experts and are closely involved in Health & Safety issues. As a result, the role of our EWC members will become more proactive. Our members are very aware that they represent Smurfit Kappa as a whole and not just their own location or country. It is a great challenge to combine the insights of people from so many different cultures for the benefit of the company and all the people that make Smurfit Kappa such a great multinational.”
When a decision is taken to introduce change, employee consultation takes place promptly. During the course of such discussions, the impact of the proposed changes, together with the implementation plans, are discussed with employees and their representatives.
The outcome, reflecting local and/or national custom and practice or legislation, will result in one or more of the following: severance pay, career counselling, job search workshops, financial advice (including pension) and early retirement where appropriate.