Every human being has rights. They include the right to education, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and the right to join a trade union. These rights apply to all of us and have been set forth in declarations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
ING upholds the rights proclaimed in the UDHR and we aim to respect human rights in all our global operations. This includes the rights of our employees and the rights of the people who are affected by our operations.
Human Right and the Workplace
We respect our employees and want to be a good employer. We provide a healthy and safe workplace where discrimination and unfair treatment are not tolerated. We promote the personal and professional growth of our employees by providing excellent primary and secondary benefits and development opportunities. This creates an environment in which our people can not only do well but also do good.
In December 2006, ING adopted a Human Rights Statement relating to its employees. In this statement, we express our commitment to support international labour rights standards for our employees. We consider certain human rights fundamental and universal for our workforce. These rights include the right to freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining and freedom from discrimination based on race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion and national and social origin. ING upholds the elimination of all forms of forced labour and child labour. See also our Human Rights Statement (PDF).
Actively involving employees in situations when the company is dealing with complex human resources policy issues does not automatically result in increased employee satisfaction. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, especially in the volatile market circumstances as we are currently experiencing. But involving employees does ensure that their point of view is taken into account, ensuring a more balanced outcome. Involving employees in policymaking also enhances communication between management and staff and supports a culture of shared responsibility.
The way employees are consulted depends on local legislation and culture. In some countries employee consultation is a legal requirement. In many European countries, employee consultation is arranged via works councils. In 1996, ING instituted a European Works Council. In 2002, this European Works Council and the Executive Board signed a Social Framework with common principles for social policy and labour management. In some European and Latin American countries, labour unions play an important role in employee consultation, especially when collective labour agreements are on the agenda. In the US and Canada, ING set up an Ombudsman programme to provide dispute resolution in cases where issues cannot be resolved between an employee and his or her immediate manager.
More countries will follow this example in the coming years. ING opts for a pro-active approach to employee engagement by informing its people through regular dialogue. One of the tools to this end is dialogue through employee representation, an important form of stakeholder engagement. Under our Human Rights Statement, we uphold the freedom of association for all our employees and recognise the right to collective bargaining. Over 40% of ING’s business units have collective bargaining agreements in place. The way in which the right of freedom of association is implemented differs per region.
Human Rights and doing business
ING pays close attention to human rights issues when engaging with clients and investing in projects around the world. Human rights are a key aspect of ING’s ESR Policy framework, formalized in a dedicated policy. This policy is based on UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This policy applies to all ING’s business engagements.
Additionally, ING embeds Human Rights in various ESR Policies, such as Equator Principles and the Sector Specific Policies. For the occasions were severe Human Rights violations are found and client performance is not satisfactory, ING does not engage. Moreover, ING does not engage with clients based in countries subject to continuous Human Rights violations such as Burma/Myanmar and Sudan.
We believe that our active application of the ESR Policies and in particular the Human Rights Policy contribute to the protection and preservation of Human Rights world-wide.