Reporting 2021

Fair Working Conditions and Human Rights

Our employees play a vital role in our success. In return, we offer them safe, attractive workplaces with fair pay, and are also increasingly extending this to cover people along the entire supply chain.

Our development and long-term market success both depend crucially on our employees. Their know-how and passion for logistics drive us forward every day. For us it is a matter of course that 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 at all levels. Looking beyond our immediate corporate boundaries, we also consider respect for human rights along the entire supply chain to be an integral aspect of our corporate responsibility.

Employment contracts, wages and salaries

The majority of our employees, at 87.7 percent, have a permanent employment contract. In the reporting year, 90.5 percent of our employees worked full time. Among those who worked part-time, women again made up the largest group with 55.1 percent. In the past, we have only categorized our workforce into women and men, but we are aware that not everybody self-identifies with either of these genders. To date, only a few of our own workforce have identified as diverse. As we are currently talking about a proportion of less than 0.1 percent, we do not yet explicitly include this group in our statistics. However, in the interests of equal representation, we will continue to monitor this aspect.

Our employees are paid 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. They also have the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. In 2021, the proportion of our locations integrated in a collective wage agreement system again increased slightly by 0.5 percentage points to 99.2 percent.

Employment contract and type

Basis: Germany 10,107 employees (status as of 12/31/2021)

Total
in %
of which male
in %
of which female
in %
Employment contract
Permanent 87.7 74.6 25.4
Temporary 12.3 63.6 36.4
Employment type
Full-time (100%) 90.5 76.2 23.8
Part-time (<100 %) 9.5 44.9 55.1

We are mindful of our employees’ needs, which increasingly makes it incumbent on us as an employer to provide targeted support with reconciling career and family. For example, we generally fulfill employees’ wish to work part time and are able to approve around 85 percent of all such applications. For non-tariff employees, we create additional options through flexitime models as well as trust-based working hours. Our central departments hold a permanent certificate from berufundfamilie Service GmbH. The aim of this audit is to implement a sustainable family-conscious human resources policy.

Challenges from the coronavirus pandemic remain

In its second year, the pandemic continued to pose challenge not only for us as a company, but also for our employees. Particularly in areas related to the automotive industry, a high degree of working time flexibility was required, including the implementation of a wide variety of shift models and vacation planning strongly oriented to the operational level. We are aware of the stress this entails and have made efforts to address the issue at specific sites, for example by offering workshops and discussions aimed at promoting stress resilience. Order fluctuations caused by supply chain bottlenecks resulted in us extending the short-time work arrangements introduced last year at the inland terminals and AutoTransport sites in constructive and successful cooperation with the works councils. This enabled us to bridge work stoppages and secure jobs.

Codetermination and one BLG for all

Automation and digitalization are set to bring about far-reaching changes in many logistics processes. We want to exploit the opportunities this presents for our business, while managing the changes it entails in a socially acceptable way. In doing so, we must get our employees on board with us for every step on this challenging journey. 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 ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions, both parties mutually decided to again suspend the negotiations in the reporting year.

Practiced codetermination is an integral part of our corporate culture. We actively seek a dialog with our employees and attach great importance to respectful communication with each other. Mutual trust is just as essential for this as a strong representation of interests. This takes place at operational level through the works councils and at Group level by the employee representatives on the Supervisory Board. Exchanges of this nature are both valuable and rewarding for all members of the company. We also practice codetermination on a day-to-day basis on other levels – especially where the focus is on workplace design, the compatibility of career and family or occupational safety.

Equal integration for temporary agency workers

In logistics, fluctuations in the order situation are the rule rather than the exception. For us, this means we are often forced to rely on agency employees as a back-up during order peaks or very short-term contracts. It goes without saying that here we work exclusively with service providers that meet the minimum wage requirements.

As of December 31, 2021, we employed 78.2 percent own staff, 1.3 percent employees from the Central German Seaport Operators (Gesamthafenbetrieb, GHB) and 20.5  percent employees from other personnel service providers. This corresponded to a very slight decrease of 1.1 percentage points for own staff compared to 2020. We make no distinction between these groups with regard to contractually agreed work assignment flexibility. This applies for example to short notice for work assignments, overtime or weekend work. In all of this we of course adhere to the principle of “equal pay for equal work” in line with the requirements of the German Temporary Employment Act (AÜG).

As in previous years, we again took employees from agencies and personnel service providers into permanent employment in the reporting year – for example at BLG Handelslogistik GmbH & Co. KG in Bremen, where 79 temporary staff became “fully-fledged” members of BLG. Of these, 45 are employed in the area of DCN and a further 34 in returns management.

Human rights along the supply chain

Respecting human rights is an integral aspect of our corporate responsibility, both when it comes to working conditions within our own company and in cooperation with suppliers, subcontractors and business partners. In order to anchor this principle more firmly in our systems and processes along the entire supply chain, we have recently revised and updated our internal and external policies and guidelines. Our policy statement on human rights, which was signed by the Board of Management in the reporting year, forms part of this. This underscores our rejection of practices such as child and forced labor just as clearly as our action against any form of discrimination and 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. In order to share this understanding with our employees, we have extended our training catalog to include a corresponding training course, which is being offered for the first time in 2022. In addition to providing a general overview of the responsibility for human rights that companies bear and introducing the most important guidelines, the focus is above all on practical integration into day-to-day operations.

We also expect our upstream and downstream partners in the supply chain to adhere without exception to the corresponding human rights standards and communicate this clearly in our Code of Conduct for Suppliers, which came into force on October 1, 2021.

We are committed to providing people with disabilities with work that is subject to social insurance contributions, enabling genuinely full and equal participation. One hundred percent integration into the team is a decisive factor for success.

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Fluctuation as an indicator

Employee fluctuation is a key indicator for measuring our attractiveness as an employer and how satisfied our employees feel in their job. It is also economically relevant, because recruiting and onboarding new colleagues is time- and cost-intensive and is likely to become even more so as the labor shortage intensifies. We calculate the fluctuation rate from the number of employees leaving of their own accord compared with the average number of employees over the financial year. In 2021, 400 employees left us at their own request. Compared with the previous year, the rate thus increased quite significantly from 2.1 to 3.9 percent (2019: 3.2 percent). However, it should probably be taken into account here that the decline in the previous year was closely linked to the uncertainty at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. For now, given the current general labor market situation in which there is a greater readiness for people to switch jobs, we have dropped the target of a maximum fluctuation rate of 2.2 percent that applied until last year. Nevertheless, with a long-term rate well below five percent, we are still in a very healthy range. However, we still conduct exit interviews as a standard procedure in order to find out why employees leave us and to derive impulses for our actions and concrete measures.

Support in all situations

Our company social counseling service is available to our employees and their families at our Bremen and Bremerhaven sites, with 2,752 employees falling within its area of responsibility in the reporting year. The service covers advice and support in a wide range of demanding situations, including personal stress at work, family problems, psychosomatic complaints, acute life crises and dependency disorders. The offering was taken up by 66 of our employees, equating to a rate of 2.4 percent. They were supported in 306 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 that are funded by an exclusively employer-financed support association, BLG LOGISTICS GROUP e.V.

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