Progressive social plan agreed at Carlsberg Bulgaria

In February 2010, management and trade unions at Carlsberg Bulgaria signed an agreement for a social plan to accompany the company-level collective agreement. The social plan includes a range of activities related both to the company’s human resources and sustainable development of the regions where Carlsberg subsidiaries are operating. The activities will be implemented through partnership with trade unions and information and consultation mechanisms.

In February 2010, management and trade unions at Carlsberg Bulgaria signed an additional agreement for a social plan as an annex to the company-level collective agreement, which has been in operation since 2009. The plan generally addresses social support and assistance for the employees.

Main provisions of social plan

The main areas proposed in the social plan are as follows:

  • the development of human capital through the enforcement of employment opportunities, the promotion of education, and the improvement of workers’ and employees’ abilities;
  • the socialisation and humanisation of capital and work through the improvement of health, safety and security at work, along with the promotion of jobs with decent work, fair conditions and pay as a means to social cohesion and the prevention of social exclusion;
  • the establishment of conditions for adaptation to change, such as new technologies or a change of job, workplace or town/city;
  • the creation and maintenance of the company’s corporate image, using policies of social investment and actions for building trust between management and employees, and between the company, institutions and civil society.

The plan is divided into two main parts – one for the activities, which should follow the company’s industrial policy and process of restructuring, and the other for expenditure on particular social benefits for the employees.

Management and trade union activities

The company management and the trade unions agreed to implement and promote standards of employment, compensation and industrial relations that are not any lower than the standards used by similar companies in the country of origin. Most of the activities are aimed at the maintenance and development of human capital in the following areas:

  • education and qualification;
  • promoting job mobility between the company’s subsidiaries;
  • career development;
  • encouraging a balance between job security and flexibility;
  • optimising operations rather than implementing redundancies;
  • flexible working time;
  • socially responsible restructuring;
  • the outplacement and orientation of redundant workers and employees;
  • promoting decent work with the support of non-discrimination policies and equal opportunities;
  • investment in health and safety at work;
  • implementing an internal audit system;
  • analysis and evaluation of risks;
  • implementing methods for specifying conditions and risks at work for some jobs, with the aim of improving working time organisation;
  • using compensation related to company results and productivity;
  • additional benefits such as extra pension and health insurance, life insurance, partial payment of annual holidays and support in cases of long illnesses;
  • promoting social dialogue and collective bargaining at company level, along with communication, information, consultation and employee involvement;
  • encouraging support for the ongoing training of health and safety committee members, as well as support for trade union education.

Commitment to corporate social responsibility

At the same time, the partners will put their efforts into the development of policies and practices relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR). They agree that the company will join the United Nations Global Compact, which is the biggest voluntary initiative and network for CSR, and that the company management should give information and provide consultations with the trade unions with regard to the CSR initiatives. Many of the planned activities go beyond the company, even in cases where they are designed for the company workers and employees. Such activities include:

  • lifelong learning;
  • the creation of general competences;
  • implementing the standards for a more secure, clean and organised working environment;
  • work-life balance;
  • support for quality of life in the employees’ private domain, such as in sports, tourism and other areas;
  • promoting a ‘well-being at work’ campaign.

Sustainable development

The social plan also includes a number of activities related both to the company’s human resources and sustainable development of the regions where the Carlsberg subsidiaries are operating. They concern the improvement of the urban and natural environment in the region, support for social institutions such as residences for children without parents or for pensioners, along with support for community sports, and the planning and implementation of projects concerning cultural, historical and ethnographical monuments and events.


The social plan represents an attempt to coordinate the aims of human resource development and CSR policy, using partnership and collective bargaining at company level. As social partnership has proved favourable at Carlsberg Bulgaria, this could be evaluated as a step further.

Ekaterina Ribarova, Institute for Social and Trade Union Research (ISTUR)

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