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Corporate Social Responsibility

and Working Conditions
Final report

for the

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

By the Université Européenne du Travail

C/O CEE "Le Descartes"

29 promenade Michel Simon - 93166 Noisy le Grand

July 2002


Jean-Pierre SEGAL, André SOBCZAK, Claude-Emmanuel TRIOMPHE 9

A-From the corporate social tradition to corporate social responsibility 9

B-From Green Paper to communication, the Commission’s desire to define and promote social responsibility 10

C-Aim of the report 11

D-Structure of the report 11

E-Composition of the research team 12




Jean-Pierre SEGAL (ADUET-CNRS-Gestion & Société) 14

Claude Emmanuel TRIOMPHE (ADUET-CEE) 14


A.1. General lines of approach 14

A.1.1 Firstly, it was an inductive approach 14

A.1.2 Secondly, it was a transnational approach 14

A.1.3 Lastly, it was a sociologically inspired approach 15

A.2. Problems with our approach 15

A.2.1 Restructuring 16

A.2.2 Subcontracting 16

A.3. The criteria for selecting enterprises 16

A.3.1 Enterprises developing socially responsible practices 16

A.3.2 The importance of diversifying the composition of our sample of enterprises 17

A.3.3 A criterion of transparency and of accessibility to data 17

A.4. Our work programme and its coordination 18


B.1. An initial inventory of the examples of good practice discovered 19

B.1.1. Socially responsible handling of restructuring 19

B.1.2. The slow and difficult emergence of responsible subcontracting 20

B.1.3. Other examples of good practice 21

B.1.4 Timid transnational expansion 21

B.2 These examples of good practice have certain characteristics in common 21

B.2.1 Responsible commitment by the company’s management at the outset 21

B.2.2 The “in-house” dimension of CSR: a “private” matter? 22

B.2.3 These examples of good practice have boundaries close to the immediate perimeter of the company 22

B.2.4 These examples of good practice rarely make reference to the term “corporate social responsibility” 23

B.3. However, there are also substantial differences between these good practices 23

B.3.1 Multiple sources of motivation for CSR 23

B.3.2 What is (or is not) regarded as a socially responsible practice varies substantially from one country to another in our sample 24

B.3.3 Unequal development of tools 25


C.1. CSR, employment and working conditions 26

C.1.1 Restructuring and CSR 26

C.1.2 Subcontracting and CSR 27

C.2 Corporate structures and dissemination of CSR 27

C.2.1 The question of company size 27

C.2.2 The issue of disseminating good practice to SMEs 28

C.2.3 The issue of international dissemination of good practice 28

C.3 The players in CSR 29

C.3.1 Corporate governance and CSR 29

C.3.2 CSR and the trade union movement 30

C.3.3 Social dialogue and CSR 30

C.4. CSR, product or process? What impact on its evaluation? 31

C.4.1 CSR as learning process 31

C.4.2 Is it possible to specify common lower and upper limits for CSR practices? 32

C.4.3. What tools for the future? 33


The various case studies we have conducted fall within the scope of national contexts impregnated with the culture of labour relations and the legal framework in the four countries. In order better to evaluate the socially responsible practices we have found, it therefore seems important to provide in advance some information on these national contexts and, more particularly, on the legal framework: 35

A. The legal framework of social responsibility 35

A.1 An indirect incentive: the transparency obligation hanging over investment funds 35

A.2. A direct incentive: the transparency obligation hanging over companies 36

B. The legal framework of restructuring 36

B.1. Information and consultation 36

B.2. Reassignment 37

B.3. Rules preserving the employer’s freedom of management 38

C. The legal framework of subcontracting relationships 38


The National Reports 40


A. The established system of industrial relations in Germany 41

A.1. Trade unions 41

A.2. Employers' associations 42

A.3. Collective agreements 42

A.4. Industrial action 42

A.5. Co-operation 43

A.6. Works constitution and co determination 43

A.7. The works council 43

B. Cultural background 44

B.1. CSR in Germany vs. in the US vs. in the EU 44

B.2. The challenge of change 45

B.2.1 Globalization 45

B.2.2 Communications 46

B.2.3 Revival of values 46

B.2.4 New answers 46

C. Case studies 46

C.1. Deutsche Telekom AG 46

C.1.1 Restructuring, downsizing and outsourcing = reengineering 46

C.1.2 DT`s Support to Matáv`s Restructuring Process in Hungary 47

C.1.3. DT’s measuring tools of CSR projects 49

C.1.4 Discussion: DT, CSR measuring tools and NGO’s 49

C.2. BASF AG 50

C.2.1 CSR practices in BASF 50

C.2.2. Discussion: BASF, the traditional model of corporatism and the new stakeholder model? 51

C.3. Volkswagen AG 53

C.3.1. Good practices by VW 53

C.3.2. Discussion of VW good practices 54

C.4. Roche 55

C.4.1. Good practices by Roche 56

C.4.2. Discussion: Roche, state-regulation and incentives needed by a company to be more pro active in CSR issues? 57

D. Conclusions 58

Annex 61


A. Introduction 64

A.1 Towards a definition of CSR 64

A.2 CSR and company performance 65

A.3 The overall status of CSR activity at company level in the UK 66

A.4 Summary of findings from searches 66

A.5 Review 68

A.6 The Legal Context 69

B. The Case Studies 70

B.1 Corus 70

B.1.1 Background 70

B.1.2 The restructuring process at the Scunthorpe and Teesside sites 70

B.1.3 Internal views of the process 72

B.1.4 External views of the process 73

B.1.5 Conclusions from the Corus case 73

B.2 Tesco 74

B.2.1 Background 74

B.2.2 CSR in Tesco 74

B.2.3 Views on the workplace forums 76

B.2.4 Conclusions from the Tesco case 77

References 78


A. Social and Economic Context of Corporate Social Responsibility in Hungary 81

A.1 A New Approach of CSR in Hungary 81

A.2 Firm Level Social Provisions and Human Resource Strategies of Employers 83

A.3 Work Safety and Health 83

A.4 Social Dialogue in Hungary - Labour Relations in Transformation 84

A.5 Manifestations of CSR 87

B. The Hungarian Case Studies 88

B.1 The case of MOL 88

B.1.1 About the firm 88

B.1.2 The employment strategy of the firm 89

B.1.3 Responsibility towards its social environment 90

B.1.4 Social dialogue within the firm 91

B.1.5 The perception of CSR activities as such 92

B.2 The case of MATAV 93

B.2.1 About the firm 93

B.2.2 Employment and human resource strategy 93

B.2.3 Outsourcing strategy at MATAV 94

B.2.4 Social dialogue at MATAV 95

B.2.5 The concept of CSR at MATAV 96

B.2.6 External social responsibilities of MATAV 96

C. Conclusions 97

References 98


A. The cultural and legal context of social responsibility in France 101

A.1 An idea at the heart of conflicting traditions 101

A.2 A legal framework to encourage corporate social responsibility 102

A.2.1. An indirect form of encouragement: a duty of transparency for the investment funds 102

Several national legal systems among the States of the European Union require investment funds to specify whether they take account of social and environmental criteria when deciding on the placement of their investments. Bearing in mind the fact that savers are displaying an increasing interest in seeing their money managed in a socially responsible way, it might be thought that this duty of transparency would lead some funds to modify their investment policies. Indirectly, therefore, increased economic pressure is exerted on undertakings in search of investors to encourage them to acknowledge their social responsibility. 102

A.2.2 A direct form of encouragement: the duty of transparency for undertakings 103

A.2.3 A labour law allowing room for corporate social responsibility 104

A.3 Social responsibility and restructuring 104

A.4 Social and health/security responsibility in subcontracting relationships 105

B. The case studies 105

B.1 Chèque déjeuner 105

B.1.1 Presentation of the undertaking 106

B.1.2 A programme of changes designed to prepare for the company’s future while maintaining employment 106

B.1.3 The tools of change: an atypical information process and conventional human resources management tools 107

B.1.4 Discussion of the case 108

B.2 ACOME 108

B.2.1 Presentation of the case 108

B.2.2 A system that has proved quite successful in preserving jobs on the Mortain site 109

B.2.3 Energetic staff information policy 111

B.2.4 Discussion of the case 113

B.2.4.1. Is the application of ‘good practices’ in an SME attributable to a voluntary commitment by management or the result of external market pressures? 113

B.2.4.2. Can the social responsibility of a very large undertaking and a ‘medium-large undertaking’ be measured in the same way? 114


B.3.1 Presentation of the undertaking 115

B.3.2. A fairly successful system of staff retraining 116

B.3.3 Discussion of the case 118


B.4.1 USINOR and its restructuring policy 119

B.4.2 Discussion of the case in connection with the restructuring operations 120

B.4.3 USINOR, subcontracting and working conditions 121

B.4.3.1 Presentation of the Usinor/Sollac installation at Fos-sur-Mer and the Usinor/Cockerill Sambre installation at Liège 121

B.4.3.2 A centralized voluntary work safety policy 122

B.4.3.3 The significance of subcontracting at Fos: situation, problem, approach 122

B.4.3.4 The emergence of a problem at Liège 124

B.4.3.5 Discussion of subcontracting and safety at work 125

Bibliography 128

Thanks are due from the entire team that has conducted this research to the following in particular:

  • the 12 European companies, their managers and employee representatives, who agreed to take part in our work

  • in Germany, the EIAB association and, in particular, Lutz BÜCHNER and Helmut EBERBACH

  • in Belgium, CEDAC and, in particular, Anne PEETERS

  • in Hungary, MTK and, in particular, Jenö KOLTAY

  • in France, Carole COUDERT, Maïté LAAL, André PACCOU and all members of the ADUET “restructuring” group

  • all the bodies to which our researchers and experts belong

  • all who took part in the public meetings organised in Germany and France, who helped us to verify and amend our hypotheses

  • members of the Research Group at the Foundation in Dublin, whose friendly and candid comments were a great help to us

  • last but not least, our research managers, Jean-Michel MILLER and Sabrina TESOKA, who put a great deal of work into the implementation of this research.

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