The commitment to respecting and upholding human rights is enshrined in detail in the chapter of voestalpine’s Code of Conduct entitled “Respect and Integrity.” Human rights are also a key element of the company’s binding Code of Conduct for Business Partners.
UN Global compact— the 10 principles
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and bonded labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Collective bargaining and the right to freedom of association
About 80% of voestalpine’s employees are in an employment relationship that is governed by a collective agreement. Every employee has the freedom and right to join unions. The workforce in all voestalpine companies may elect representatives to the works councils. The voestalpine Group has both a European Works Council and a Group Works Council, which maintain good communications with management.
Child labor and forced labor
voestalpine is strictly against child, forced, and bonded labor. So far, there has been no known case of such forms of labor in the entire Group. Nor does voestalpine tolerate any form of child, forced, and bonded labor at its suppliers and business partners. As part of the Sustainable Supply Chain Management reviews, voestalpine’s suppliers are pointedly audited as to their compliance with human rights, particularly with respect to child, forced, and bonded labor (see ).
The Code of Conduct for Business Partners states in this respect: “The Business Partner undertakes to respect and comply with human rights as fundamental values on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Charter. In particular, this applies to the prohibition of child and forced labor, the prohibition of any form of human trafficking, the equal treatment of employees, and the right to employee representation and collective bargaining.”
Human trafficking and modern slavery
Companies of the voestalpine Group that are subject to the UK Modern Slavery Act fulfil the latter’s requirements by publishing a statement to that effect. Both the Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for Business Partners explicitly mention and expressly prohibit human trafficking and modern slavery.
Human rights training for security personnel
Plant security staff is largely made up of voestalpine’s own employees. The Code of Conduct also applies to third-party employees, and the Code of Conduct for Business Partners applies to their employers. Both documents stipulate compliance with human rights. voestalpine itself provides human rights training for its own employees; external security personnel are trained by their own employers.
Rights of indigenous peoples
As voestalpine operates solely in developed industrial areas, its business operations do not affect the rights of aboriginal peoples.
An online training program will be developed during the next business year to ensure respect for and compliance with human rights. The program will serve to sensitize all employees whose activities entail greater responsibility for this issue and provide them with important information and instructions on how to act.