Outstanding working conditions

The beneficial terms of employment in the Coop collective employment agreement also apply for Chocolats Halba staff. They have co-determination rights in the company, and are transparently and fairly remunerated. They also enjoy considerable benefits within the Group.

Chocolats Halba staff are subject to the Coop collective employment agreement (CEA) rather than the collective agreement for the Swiss chocolate industry. This guarantees outstanding working conditions.

An impartial commission monitors adherence to agreements, as does an arbitration tribunal, which can be called upon in the event of any disagreement. Employees have the right to elect staff commissions for operational co-determination in their work areas. Freedom of association is guaranteed.

The normal working week at Chocolats Halba averages 41 hours. Employees who care for children or partners are entitled to socially acceptable working hours. Eleven percent of our employees work part time. All employees have at least five weeks of holidays per year. Trainees and people aged 50 or over get six weeks. This is one week more than the statutory quota in each case.

Remuneration and benefits

The Coop collective employment agreement ensures a high degree of pay transparency and fair salaries. Pay is defined in detail in line with workplace requirements and responsibilities, professional experience, individual performance and labour market conditions.

In Switzerland, the reference wage for a three-year basic training period at Halba is CHF 4,100 gross. This is the guideline for a 20-year-old person who is fully able to work. The minimum monthly wage is CHF 3,820 gross. Employees are also entitled to a 13th month’s pay.

In addition to their pay, employees at Chocolats Halba enjoy numerous benefits when they buy products or obtain services from other Coop Group companies. This enables employees to benefit in many different areas of their daily lives, such as shopping for food, appliances and furniture, and also when travelling, keeping fit and obtaining banking and insurance services.

Ayse Yorulmaz is line manager of chocolate stick production and one of 119 women working at Chocolats Halba.

Social welfare

As is customary in Switzerland, all employees have a pension plan managed by the government’s AHV pension insurance scheme. Chocolats Halba employees also have occupational pension cover with the Coop’s CPV/CAP pension fund. The company pays two-thirds of the contributions. This means it is contributing significantly more than that which is legally required (50 percent).

Employees insured by CPV/CAP are also entitled to make use of their right to early retirement. If they have been with the company for at least five years, employees can benefit from a bridging pension.

Depending on how long they have been employed by the company, mothers are entitled to maternity benefit that significantly exceeds legal requirements. From their fourth year of employment, employees receive 16 weeks’ maternity leave on full pay. Fathers are entitled to paid paternity leave of five days and also to two weeks’ unpaid leave.

Employee trips

For Chocolats Halba, it is important that both management and employees identify with the company and live out its corporate values in their professional and private lives. To this end, the company gives a delegation of deserving employees the opportunity to visit a cocoa-producing country every year.

Employees in cocoa-growing countries

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They experience at first-hand how Halba works together with small-scale farmers and cooperatives, and what the company achieves on location. Since 2011, a total of around 30 percent of the workforce have visited our partners in Honduras, Peru, Ecuador and Ghana. They all return as ambassadors of sustainability.

“On the staff trip to Ghana, I discovered how strenuous and challenging work is for cocoa farmers. I was fascinated to see how basic the conditions were for harvesting the cocoa beans that we then process in our high-tech factory. My impressions from the trip, and the colleagues that I got to know, remain with me to this day.”

Reto Elsener, Head of Maintenance and participant in the 2016 staff trip to Ghana

The impressions of the employee trip remain with him to this day: Reto Elsener in the field in Ghana.