So that disability is no longer a barrier to employment, Renault Trucks has committed to giving everyone an equal chance. For several years now, the company has been developing a voluntarist policy to promote the recruitment and professional development of people facing disability. For Renault Trucks, “Disability Week” does not last a week, it lasts all the year round.
Renault Trucks does not wait for “Disability Week” to look after the disabled and raise awareness amongst its employees to the issue of disability in the workplace. Over the years, a series of measures have been put in place in the company to make life easier for those facing disability: financial and administrative aid, risk prevention and adaptation of workstations (as part of the PARI process, a workstation reorganisation and internal retraining plan initiated at the Blainville plant for Renault Trucks employees), accessibility, exchange actions, partnerships and training. Through these initiatives, Renault Trucks is leading an active approach to overcome disability.
Disability: a fundamental concern
The company agreement Handi’Accord, which was renewed in 2006 for a period of 3 years, officialises the promotion of working conditions that are conducive to the fulfilment of all employees and encourages diversity within the Renault Trucks workforce. This renewal is the culmination of 17 years’ work on this topic with all the trade union and staff representative organisations. Handi’Accord gives access to financial aid and awareness-raising for all, including the management, to help people deal with employees facing disability.
This 6th edition of the agreement has been extended to include all measures in favour of Renault Trucks employees’ disabled children (housing aid, university grants, disabled-friendly alterations to cars, etc…).
A recruitment-oriented approach
Visible disabilities only concern a minority of disabled people (5 to 10%). Thus, the recruitment phase is a time when the disabled individual may suffer sub-conscious discrimination on the part of the interviewer. Since the CV of someone facing disability is not read in the same was as a standard CV, Renault Trucks recruiters have all been given specific training in this area. And, during a job interview, the candidate is unlikely to want to bring his disability to the fore. Here again, interviewers will explain the many mechanisms of the company’s policy on disability at the time of the interview, whether or not the candidate is affected.
More generally, Renault Trucks’ philosophy in terms of recruitment of the disabled can be summarised as follows: a disabled individual’s position will be developed with that person and in line with his abilities. The individual’s skills come first. Under no circumstances should the position define the profile.
|An active approach to keeping people in work
Renault Trucks is rolling out a voluntarist, exemplary policy. In 2007, direct positions accounted for 515 people, of whom, 12 new recruits (i.e.: twice as many as in 2006).
Each site organises its own workstation reorganisation plan. For example, since 2001, the Renault Trucks site in Blainville (Calvados) has been focusing on improving ergonomics and the working environment.
The PARI process, with an initial investment of €800,000 has improved working conditions in the plant.
Initially, 800 jobs in the plant were mapped in order to measure their level of discomfort. Each position now has a colour code (from green to brown) with the objective of having as many greens as possible. The system in place is supervised by the progress committee which meets each month in a different sector of the plant, inviting the health and process engineering people to monitor positions as they evolve.
The work is broadly focused on reducing physical loads, reorganising workstations to reduce the risks of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and looking for more intelligent, more win-win solutions. By way of example, the sheet metal line has been entirely revamped with the installation of QuickLift-type handling equipment to facilitate the transfer of cab side panels: for a total investment of €28,000, the workers can now handle the elements alone, without effort, whereas before, they had to carry loads of up to 30 kg per unit.
Renault Trucks also has a specific budget to help the company contribute to the costs incurred by employees facing disability. Two items of expenditure are being assisted in particular:
Renault Trucks cultivates a strong, long-standing relationship with the protected employment sector. To date, the manufacturer has signed contracts with 15 or so establishments and services offering rehabilitation through work (ESAT). Furthermore, it is promoting integration in the ordinary working environment: thanks to three on-site temporary employment contracts, several workers have been seconded to Renault Trucks.
Besides Renault Trucks’ policy on integration and keeping disabled people in work, several awareness-raising and communications actions have been introduced:
Handi’Accord seminars to raise awareness amongst management-level staff about disability, drive recruitment and share good practices;
Because actions concerning disability will continue, Renault Trucks is ramping up its commitment and working with various organisations and consultants specialising in the recruitment of people facing disability.