30 April, 2007

European Year of Equal Opportunities for All For EU Telecoms Operators, fighting discrimination and promoting a diverse workforce is a competitive advantage

Ensuring equal opportunities for all employees, encouraging better work/ life balance and promoting an open and diverse workforce enables EU telecoms operators to retain best talents and increase motivation, according to a report published today by ETNO and UNI*.

“To mark the European Year of Equal Chances for All, we are proud to show how ETNO members make diversity a key business driver. This report aims at encouraging other companies and sectors to embrace similar initiatives”, said Michael Bartholomew, ETNO Director.  

The report entitled ’Diversity at Work’ available in seven languages  identifies best practices among EU telecoms operators to avoid discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and to enable a better work life balance. The study has been carried out by the ETNO-UNI Europa working group on diversity which functions as a forum for companies and trade unions in the context of the EU Social Dialogue Committee. 

This joint ETNO-UNI project has been supported by the European Commission as part of a campaign to promote diversity in the workforce.   

Best practices outlined in the report include measures and special programmes to:

  • raise employees’ awareness about diversity through information campaigns, Diversity Awards and the appointment of Diversity Champions;
  • deal with employees’ complaints through internal grievance procedures;
  • allow a better work/ life balance through home working facilities, paid time off for parents with hospitalized children, flexible working hours for parents or nursing mothers, provision of paid parental leave for fathers;
  • ensure equal representation of men and women in all grades, including equal pay audits and mentoring programmes; 
  • reflect ethnic and religious diversity of Europe’s society through non-discriminatory recruitment policies, internal support programmes for employees from minority ethnic groups, creation of customers’ services in minority languages;
  • retain and develop the skills of senior employees and help them prepare for their retirement;
  • facilitate participation of employees with disabilities through training programmes, adapting working facilities or sub-contracting specific tasks to companies employing disabled people;
  • adapt services and marketing to disabled customers’ needs;
  • ensure no discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation, for example, by granting parental leave to employees living in same-sex partnerships. 

To download an electronic version of the brochure in Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish, please consult.

?*UNI Telecoms is the global union in the telecommunications industry with over 2 million members (www.union-network.org)

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