Reporting 2020

Fair Working Conditions and Human Rights

Our employees are crucial to our success. We offer them safe, attractive workplaces with fair pay, and are also mindful of the working conditions of the people in our supply chain.

Our success and our development are built on our employees’ expertise, commitment and passion for logistics. All employees are treated with equal respect and nobody is subject to discrimination. The collectively agreed wages and salaries that we pay are another important cornerstone for ensuring fair working conditions. Beyond this, we also take our social and civic responsibility seriously and consider respect for human rights to be an integral aspect of our corporate behavior.

Employment contracts, wages and salaries

The majority of our employees, at 87.9 percent, hold permanent jobs. Compared with the previous year and in a year marked by the coronavirus pandemic this percentage once again increased slightly by 0.7 percentage points. In the reporting year, 92.1 percent of our employees worked full time. Among those who worked part-time, women made up the largest group with 61.2 percent.

We pay our employees on the basis of the collective agreements applicable in our industry and at the respective locations, or in individual cases at comparable rates. Naturally, the statutory minimum wage applies not only to our own employees, but also to temporary agency workers. In addition, of course, they have the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. In 2020, 98.7 percent of our locations were integrated in a collective wage agreement system.

Employment contract and type

Basis: Germany 9,874 employees (status as of 12/31/2020)

in %
of which male
in %
of which female
in %
Employment contract
Permanent 87.9 74.8 25.2
Temporary 12.1 68.3 31.7
Employment type
Full-time (100 %) 92.1 77.1 22.9
Part-time (<100 %) 7.9 38.8 61.2

We take our employees’ needs seriously and help them combine career and family life. Employees who wish to work part-time – for example to look after children or care for relatives – are generally given the opportunity to do so. In around 85 percent of cases we are able to approve their application. For non-tariff employees, we additionally create corresponding possibilities through flexitime models as well as trust-based working hours. Our central departments hold a permanent certificate from berufundfamilie Service GmbH. The aim of the audit is to implement a sustainable family-conscious Human Resources (HR) policy.

Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic

With the start of the first “national lockdown“ in spring 2020, we quickly anticipated a dramatic deterioration in the order situation. The collective bargaining parties reacted quickly and with foresight to this exceptional situation: On April 1, 2020, the collective agreement on short-time work for port employees of German seaport companies came into force and was implemented by the member companies. At the same time, the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations were initially suspended, but were resumed in the fall.

Joint development and practiced codetermination

Automation and digitalization are set to permanently change logistics processes and ultimately the entire logistics business model. In order to remain competitive over the long term, we want to take our employees with us on this journey and manage the changes this entails in a socially acceptable way. For this reason, in February 2020, together with the labor union ver.di, we began discussions in the respective collective bargaining committees on an automation and digitalization collective agreement. Due to the COVID-19-related restrictions, both parties subsequently mutually decided to suspend the talks until the end of the year and to continue them in 2021.

Practiced codetermination has become a firmly established part of our corporate culture. Dialog with our employees and respectful communication with each other are important to us. The basis for this is mutual trust and a strong representation of interests. This is achieved at operational level by the works councils and at Group level by the employee representatives on the Supervisory Board. Exchanges of this nature invariably prove to be highly valuable. Practiced codetermination is especially important whenever the focus is on workplace design, occupational safety and the compatibility of career and family. For example, in response to requests from the workforce, we began introducing new functional work clothing in the reporting year with a high level of wearer comfort. Our staff had the opportunity to test the new models and their feedback played an important part in our decision.

Equal rights for temporary agency workers

In logistics, the order situation is subject to a relatively high degree of fluctuation. This means we are often forced to bring in agency employees to cover capacity fluctuations or very short-term contracts. In Bremen and Bremerhaven, due to our traditional links with the port, our first choice of workers are those from the Central German Seaport Operators (Gesamthafenbetrieb, GHB). These employees are subject to the framework pay agreements agreed for German seaport companies with the ver.di labor union. Naturally, we only use service providers that meet the minimum wage requirements.

UN goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Our employees are crucial to our success. Therefore we offer them secure and attractive jobs with fair wages and practiced codetermination.

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As of December 31, 2020, we employed 79.3 percent own staff, 4.1 percent GHB employees and 16.6 percent employees from other personnel service providers. This corresponded to an increase of 3.4 percent for own staff compared to 2019. We make no distinctions between our three employee groups with regard to contractually agreed work assignment flexibility. This applies for example to short notice for work assignments, overtime or weekend work. What’s more, we are, of course, committed to the principle of “equal pay for equal work” and thus also comply with the requirements of the German Temporary Employment Act (Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz – AÜG).

As in previous years, we again took employees from agencies and personnel service providers into permanent employment in the reporting year, including 190 former GHB employees who started full time at the car terminal in Bremerhaven. The transfers are part of a strategic concept for GHB, which was adopted jointly by the Bremen Ports Association Unternehmensverband Bremische Häfen, the ver.di labor union and the individual port companies in March 2020. In a first step, this also included the offer to 180 GHB temporary workers to join BLG LOGISTICS on a part-time basis and thus benefit from better protection, including a minimum number of shifts and eligibility to receive full collectively agreed benefits. In the meantime, 157 of them have been taken on as part-time employees, bringing the total number of employees from GHB as of December 31, 2020 to 347.

Responsibility for human rights

Respecting human rights plays a central role for us, both when it comes to working conditions within our own company and in cooperation with suppliers, subcontractors and business partners. We expect them to comply with corresponding standards and have included this requirement in our General Terms of Contract and Purchase. In order to anchor respect for human rights in our systems and processes more firmly along the entire supply chain in the future, we are currently in a first step revising and updating our internal and external policies and guidelines. In doing so, we intend to take an even clearer stand both internally and externally – and communicate our rejection of practices such as child and forced labor just as clearly as our action against any form of discrimination. At the same time, we will reinforce our support for fair wages, social benefits and a limit on working hours, as well as for the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Limiting fluctuation

Fluctuation is a key indicator for measuring our attractiveness as an employer. Of course, it says something about how satisfied our employees feel in their job and to what extent they perceive the working conditions to be fair. Fluctuation is also a non-trivial cost factor due to the expense and time needed for attracting new employees and onboarding them successfully. We calculate this figure from the number of employees leaving of their own accord compared with the average number of employees throughout the financial year. In 2020, 312 employees left us at their own request. Compared with the previous year, the rate thus fell quite significantly from 3.15 to 2.1 percent, and was within our target of a maximum fluctuation of 2.2 percent. However, it should be noted that the number of proactive terminations by employees has generally declined during the coronavirus pandemic. Independently of this, we conduct exit interviews as a standard procedure in order to find out why employees leave us and to derive possible areas for improvement from this.

Support offerings and welfare

In the reporting year, 2,820 employees were covered by our Company Social Advice Office – and 83 of them availed themselves of this offering, equating to a rate of 2.9 percent. They were supported in 276 consultations. Other forms of support available to our employees are subsidies for dental prostheses, homeopathic treatment and hearing aids, as well as rest and respite leave. These benefits are funded by an exclusively employer-financed support association, BLG LOGISTICS GROUP e.V.

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