12 October 2020 – Labour Standards Assurance System Policy

Birmingham Optical distribute ophthalmic medical devices and spare components throughout the United Kingdom and Eire. The Board are fully engaged in the businesses responsibility to produce and update a Labour Standards Assurance System (LSAS) which includes our corporate responsibility as a moral, ethical business whilst complying with legal obligations to our employees, customers, and suppliers and the community at large.

Scope and scale of the policy

We operate this system as we supply goods to the NHS through the various framework agreements. We have implemented this policy and it is appropriate for the nature and scale of the business and in line with its status, as defined as an SME.

Measurable targets

All targets set are measurable and with the assistance of our suppliers, aim to comply with our set targets within the agreed timeframes, which are set out in our procedures.

International labour legislation amendments

To ensure ongoing compliance with international legislation, the designated person will access key international labour standards websites for any updates. If any updates in legislation have been made, we will contact the relevant companies within this geographical area, to ensure that the legislation changes have been implemented into their processes and procedures.

Our Labour Standards Responsibilities

1. Ethical responsibilities – We acknowledge and understand our obligations towards our customers, employees, suppliers, and the local community. This ethical approach to our business is especially important for our investment strategy. As such, we will conduct our business with integrity, honesty, and respect for human rights through safe and fair dealing with our customers.

2. Protect labour standards through our supply chain – By holding our suppliers to the same standard as our own, we can prevent the threat to our supply chain, as labour standard abuses within the supply chain could pose a risk to the supply of goods. This has the potential to damage our business reputation and we could face legal action if any party within the supply chain is found to be exploiting labour standards legislation.

3. Guarantee the quality of goods and services – We recognise that there is common link between poor labour standards and poor quality of goods and services, as such, we will ensure our suppliers have minimum labour standards within their own business.

4. Prevent damage to our reputation due to adverse publicity – Discovery of labour standards abuse presents a structural and reputational risk to our business through:

  • Loss of Revenue – Customers choose to purchase goods and services from our competitors.
  • Loss of Contracts – Customer and supplier contracts will be lost due to our poor reputation.
  • Staff retention and recruitment – Our reputation may be affected as people choose not to work for a company associated with labour standard abuses. This could also lead to low morale in the workplace and make recruitment difficult.
  • Business trust – Not only with our customers and suppliers but the community at large.

We use the following document sources in completing and updating this policy and other associated documentation:

  • UN’s universal declaration of human rights.
  • ETI base code Respect for Workers Worldwide.

Our business ethics are:

  • We will not offer nor accept bribes or other means of obtaining undue or improper advantages to anyone for any reason. We will not induce our employees, suppliers, or customers to violate our moral and business ethics.
  • We will comply with applicable anti-corruption laws, including the United Kingdom Bribery Act 2015, and not offer anything of value, either directly or indirectly, to government officials to obtain or retain business.
  • We will protect worker whistle-blower confidentiality and aim to prevent retaliation against workers who report workplace grievances.
  • We will ensure that our environmental policy for the group is current and up to date and has been approved by the board and that an audit is carried out annually.
  • We will encourage all our employees to volunteer in the local community if the opportunity arises. The business will look at supporting or sponsoring either a local event or an event on behalf of our customers or suppliers.

    Labour standards in the UK

1.  Forced or compulsory labour – We will not engage or support business partners who use forced, compulsory, bonded or involuntary prison labour. Employees should be able to leave their employment upon reasonable notice.

2. Freedom of association – We will comply with UK labour relations legislation, which includes having no restrictions on any employee joining trade unions being represented within the business.

3. Health and safety – We will provide a safe and healthy workplace environment and shall take effective steps to prevent accidents or ill health of an employee. All employees will be made aware of their responsibilities to the company and members of the public who they may encounter during their working day. Employees will have access to clean toilet facilities and clean drinking water, along with acceptable breaks throughout the working day. We will ensure that not only is the physical health of an employee is protected, but also their mental wellbeing.

4. Child labour – We do not engage with or condone the use of child labour. If any young person is engaged on work experience for example, a suitable risk assessment will be carried out and ensure that they are not exposed to working longer than 8 hours, or that they exposed to dangerous working conditions.

5. Remuneration – We shall comply with national employment laws relating to wages and benefits. All work associated activities are carried out on the basis of a recognised employment contract, which has been established according to national law and practice.

6.  Working hours – We will comply with relevant employment laws on working hours and holiday entitlement. We will ensure that all employees have the legal right to be employed in the UK.

7.  Equality and discrimination – We will not engage or support any form of discrimination in relation to our employees. This applies to salary, training, promotion, termination, or retirement based on race, national or social origin, religion, gender, sexual preference, political or union affiliations, age or other circumstance that could be classed as discrimination.

8.  Regular employment – In line with the contract between employer and employee, regular work will be provided as per national laws.

9. Disciplinary practices – We will treat all employees with dignity and respect. We will not tolerate the use of mental, physical, or verbal abuse or bullying. No cruel or inhumane treatment will be allowed or advocated from ourselves or our business partners.

We are also committed to:

  • Ensuring that key contractors, sub-contractors, business partners and suppliers are aware of this policy. We will do this by sending it via an email annually, or sooner if there has been a significant change to our policy.
  • Making available time and resources for the implementation of this policy.

This Labour Standards Assurance System policy will be made public via our website and it will be communicated to our employees, contractors, sub-contractors, business partners and suppliers via email.

Arran Fewkes
Chief Executive Officer

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