Thursday, July 12, 2012

Want to buy a company, what about employees..

I recently highlighted the tussle between Kenon Kobil and its employee's relating to the acquisition of majority stake by Puma Energy.

Well this is the point. It is important to ensure a balance between the Kenol Kobil's rights and the right of the employees to fair labour practises.

So what should other companies learn from this. First, i support investments since they are a necessary part of our livelihoods. However i also believe that investments must be people-focused. As such a company cannot be stopped from entering into strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions and other forms of take overs. This is an important right for every corporation, since it ensures profitable growth by establishing new business lines or growing existing ones. If the deal has the necessary legal approval, the directors shake hand and move on.

Secondly, as executives shake hands and toast to a deal, they must be reminded that their decisions will directly affect employees. In this regard, the Talent Acquisition/Human Resource department should bring its employees to understand the deal. They should ensure that employees are well protected and make them know this. If employees will be retrenched, give them good send off packages, recommend them to prospective employers, help them develop business plans (to start their own small and medium ventures) and ensure that they leave peacefully.

Lastly, updating employees on the progress made in the deal on matters affecting them will also help avoid conflict (real or imagined). I have laernt that in life, people relax when given the right information and panic when kept in the dark.

I strongly believe that resulting to courts to resolve anticipated disputes is not good for the corporation or employees. The matter will most likely delay in court and both parties bear the costs. In addittion in a global business world, the reputation of the company may be dented if such a process is handled carelessly.

All in all a focussed balance of rights, entitlements and interests will go along way to ensure investors reap from their investments.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Rio+20: Business, Human Rights and Sustainable Development

The UN experts on business and human rights are not pleased with the outcome of the Rio+20 conference. This an interesting subject for CROPRI knowing the critical role businesses play in our economies and the need to balance their interests with human rights, so as to have a stable society that guarantees sustainable liveliohoods for present and future generations.

Enjoy reading it.

Business must respect human rights for truly sustainable development – UN expert body on Rio+20

GENEVA (28 June 2012) – A United Nations expert body* charged with the promotion of respect for human rights by business of all sizes, in all sectors, and in all countries, expressed concern that the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, failed to explicitly mention that business should respect human rights in the drive to a green economy and sustainable development.

“Businesses will play a major role in developing the green economy and human rights safeguards are necessary to ensure that policies and business plans intended to advance environmental or development goals do not negatively impact people, communities and their livelihoods,” said Puvan Selvanathan, who currently heads the five-strong UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.
“Inclusive, equitable and sustainable development can only become a reality when human beings are the central concern and their rights are realized and respected,” Mr. Selvanathan stressed. “Human rights must be internalized in both principle and practice, especially in the transition to a green economy.”
For the Working Group, internalizing human rights means at a minimum implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (see below), a set of internationally accepted guidelines, which provide a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse human rights impacts linked to business activity.
“States need to send clear and coherent messages that companies should respect human rights as the world creates a green economy, by exercising due diligence and ensuring access to effective remedies for those whose rights are adversely affected by business activity,” Mr. Selvanathan underscored.
Besides promoting and disseminating these Guiding Principles, the Working Group ensures that they are effectively implemented by both governments and business, and that they result in improved outcomes for individuals and groups around the world whose rights have been affected by business activity.
The UN Working Group called on States and business to work with it, civil society and other stakeholders, on ensuring that the path to sustainable development set up at Rio+20 is undertaken, while protecting and respecting human rights