Human rights and labor

Basic Stance

Recognizing that respect for human rights is a vital corporate social responsibility, the KOBELCO Group, as a global business group, fully respects the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Bill of Human Rights, and ILO Core Labour Standards for the protection of human rights adopted by the United Nations. In order to clearly demonstrate its commitment to respect human rights, based on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other international standards, the KOBELCO Group has established the Kobe Steel Group Basic Policy on Human Rights.

Management Structure

  • With the objective of mitigating the risk of human rights violations in all of our business activities, we believe that it is important to face all stakeholders who are affected by human rights issues and understand their issues. Based on our Group’s Basic Policy on Human Rights, we will conduct human rights due diligence that will lead to the avoidance and prevention of human rights violations associated with our business activities, and strive to properly respond to human rights issues related to our business activities while valuing dialogue with relevant stakeholders.
  • In the event that a serious problem of human rights violations occurs, a report is submitted to the person responsible for human rights issues, and then the Board of Directors receives a report on the details, discusses them, investigates the facts of the matter, and takes appropriate action.

KOBELCO Group Initiatives

Activities to Educate and Enlighten Employees on Human Rights Policies and Respect for Human Rights

In its Action Guide for Employees, which has been distributed to all employees, the KOBELCO Group sets forth standards of behavior that respect human rights. As well as encouraging each and every employee to act in such a way as to respect human rights, we strive to prevent the occurrence of human rights violations by incorporating education that leads to greater awareness of the Basic Policy on Human Rights and of human rights, such as by implementing training for new employees and training for those who have been promoted. We will continue to provide all employees, including executives, with the necessary education on respect for human rights on a regular basis.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day in December of every year, we implement initiatives such as the distribution of messages by directors and executive officers and the use of educational posters, clearly stating our attitude of zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment, while instilling human rights awareness more deeply throughout the entire Group both in Japan and overseas, and creating opportunities to reflect on respect for human rights.

Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination

The KOBELCO Group ensures a healthy workplace free from harassment and discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, language, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, physical characteristics, disease, disability, social status, property, and place of origin. We provide equal opportunities for hiring, promotion, treatment, pay raises, and placement without any disadvantages.

Respect for the Rights of Workers

The KOBELCO Group complies with the labor laws and practices of the countries and regions in which it operates, and respects the rights of its employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining. We do not engage in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or any other disadvantageous treatment on the grounds of exercising their right to organize or bargain collectively as workers, such as joining a labor union, requesting collective bargaining, or participating in collective bargaining.

With regard to wages and working hours, we comply with the laws and regulations of the respective countries, regions, and industries, paying wages that are at least the level of the minimum wage, appropriately managing working hours, and observing regulations in upper limits for overtime.

The KOBELCO Group strives to build sound and positive labor-management relations through sincere dialogue with each and every employee and their representatives. Specifically, meetings of the following labor council and committees are held, with discussions being conducted on management policy, operational conditions, management issues such as production and safety and health, as well as various working conditions and work-life balance. Labor unions and other organizations are also formed at the individual major Group companies.

Major Labor-Management Discussions

Major Labor-Management Discussions
Central Production Committee
(Twice a year)
Discusses matters such as corporate management and production planning, corporate structure, improvement of technology, and improvement of efficiency
Central Labor Council
(Once or twice a year)
Discusses such issues as improving working conditions and wages (including negotiations on the living wage advocated by the labor union).
Specialized Committee on Employment
(Twice a year)
Discusses the reduction of long working hours, promotion of work style reform, and support for balancing childcare and nursing, etc.

Prohibition of Child Labor and Forced Labor

In the Kobe Steel Group Basic Policy on Human Rights, it is made clear that child labor and forced labor are prohibited in all countries and regions where our business activities are conducted. We implement regular monitoring surveys of Group companies, and strive to prevent the occurrence of those problems in the business activities of the KOBELCO Group.

Initiatives to Prevent Harassment, and Specific Measures for Dealing with Problems in Which Allegations Have Been Made

In order to create workplace environments in which harassment does not occur, it is clearly stated in the Basic Policy on Human Rights and in the employment regulations of each company that harassment will not be tolerated. In addition, we implement regular education in the form of e-learning and group training for employees so that each and every individual in the workplace has a proper understanding of harassment and does not turn a blind eye to problems.

In preparation for any occurrence of harassment, we have put in place a system whereby stakeholders both inside and outside the Company can anonymously report or consult. Also, we have set up consultation desks at each business site that can be used by all employees. In the event of a consultation, we will confirm the facts, investigate the case, and explain the results of the investigation to the whistle-blower with their consent. We are also reviewing the workplace environment and taking thorough preventive measures. In both cases, the privacy of whistle-blowers and persons concerned is ensured.

Number of Harassment Consultations

Fiscal 2019 39 cases
Fiscal 2020 28 cases
Fiscal 2021 30 cases

Communication with Stakeholders

The KOBELCO Group believe it is important to understand human rights issues from the perspective of stakeholders affected by these issues. Based on our Group’s Basic Policy on Human Rights, we will construct a human rights due diligence system that will lead to the avoidance or prevention of human rights issues associated with our business activities, and strive to appropriately address human rights issues related to our business activities while valuing dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

Efforts to Support Local Communities

The KOBELCO Group undertakes activities rooted in the local communities where its business sites are located.

The KOBELCO Group supports employees’ volunteer activities and has established a system that allows employees to take days off to participate in such activities.

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