Social Responsibility in corporate restructuring
Thanks to Responsabilidad Social Empresarial (RSE) and Responsabilidad Social Corporativa (RSC), both referred to in English as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it is now possible to combine morality and ethics with corporate governance. In Spain, this conduct, which can be defined as civic, social or sustainable, has its roots in the well-known Olivencia, Aldama and Conthe Reports, which develop certain aspects of CSR.
In the area of employment, the application of such criteria entails a change in the implementation of classic workforce restructuring measures. In particular, thanks to CSR, restructuring no longer has to be synonymous with the loss of jobs. Rather the term “restructuring” has come to mean novation, modification, adaptation, relocation, but not dismissal, or at least not directly.
Taking up this baton, the articles of Royal Decree 1483/2012 implement what are known as “accompanying social measures”. According to this Royal Decree, during the negotiation of the layoff, an attempt must be made to implement protocols that favor or permit the adoption of socially responsible restructuring measures. In particular, a space is created on the negotiation table, in which to discuss measures that make it possible to attain the objective (restructure) while minimizing irreparable employment situations, except in extreme cases in which this type of solution would be impossible.
The measures summarized by the Royal Decree include those aimed at avoiding or reducing collective layoffs, such as internal job-to-job placement, functional mobility, geographical mobility, substantial modifications in working conditions, non-application of the working conditions stipulated under the applicable collective labor agreement, employee training and recycling, etc., as well as measures to mitigate the consequences of collective layoff, such as the implementation of the preferred right of reinstatement, outplacement through authorized enterprises, actions to improve employability, the promotion of work on a self-employed basis, measures to compensate expenses incurred on geographical mobility or reductions in salary… In particular, the Royal Decree requires companies of a certain size to prepare an outplacement plan for the affected workers, with minimum contents guaranteeing contact with existing offers, professional guidance, professional training and personalized attention.
In short, and although restructuring was traditionally equated with paring down the organizational structure, CSR obliges the employer in crisis to comply with these new requirements, giving priority to adaptation over termination and favoring modification over dismissal. As a result of this new culture, it is increasingly habitual, in a context of job restructuring. to use terms such as management buy out, spin off, re-emprendimiento (an offer of new opportunities), reindustrialization, outsourcing, outplacement… terms which identify alternatives to dismissal that make it possible to restructure in a socially responsible way.
Garrigues Labor and Employment Department