There is no denying that Veolia operates in countries identified by ratings agencies and NGOs as having challenging conditions for social dialogue: in Latin America, for example, as well as Africa and the Middle East. But trade unions and forums for dialogue do exist and we strive to engage, consult and cooperate with them as rigorously as elsewhere in the world. In these countries, we are also very vigilant in providing regular training in social dialogue practices to executives and human resources managers.
In addition, our membership of the Global Deal helps us to promote social dialogue around the world and create the right conditions for it in every country where we have a presence.
However, some countries do proscribe trade unions and the right to free association. Always staying within the law, we work directly with our employees on matters of collective interest and suggestions for improvements, focusing in particular on core issues such as working conditions and safety.
Motivated by the belief that continuous progress is possible in terms of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, which include freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, we have designed a social dialogue coverage indicator as part of our ninth commitment: ensuring that over 95% of employees benefit from a social dialogue mechanism by 2020. Tracking this indicator across Veolia by consolidating practices in all regions of the world will enable us to identify regions where progress is needed and to double down on our vigilance. As of the end of 2018, 89% of our employees were covered.
Lastly, some countries only have a single trade union, but this does not mean it is impossible to negotiate or sign collective agreements to protect our workers and improve their working conditions.