Our People

Our people

The most important strategic partners of VKG in terms of striving for sustainable development are our employees. Our personnel support and shares the values of the company. Our priority is searching for and finding good employees as well as keeping them by offering them the best possible developing opportunities.

The personnel management strategy is laid down in the general strategy of Viru Keemia Grupp, and it is aimed at stable and long-term development, which is based on traditions and the expertise in the field of oil shale extraction and processing that account for many years.

Our goal is to achieve the maximum return on investments made into our personnel by strengthening the most important competitive advantages of the Group, such as its ability to adapt to changes in external factors fast and implement innovations successfully. Social focus as well as obeying the laws are our fundamental principles underlying our partner relations with employees and trade unions.

Focus points of our staff policy:

As of the end of 2018, Viru Keemia Grupp had 1,762 employees - 1,319 men and 443 women.

Structure of employees in the Group, broken down by age, 2018 (%):

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Distribution of employees by categories, 2018 (number of people)

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Gender ratio within the management of the Group, 2018 (%):

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Distribution of employees by the main fields of activity, as of 31.12.2018 (%):

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Personnel structure has been stable within the past two years:

  • the ratio between different categories of employees has remained virtually unchanged;
  • the number of employed men is higher than the number of women, which can be attributed to the specific nature of the field of activity of the Group, and as of 31 December 2018, 75% of the employees within the Group were men, while 25% of them were women;
  • the share of employees up to 50 y.o. is about 50%.

Our people are loyal and hard-working. The average job tenure in the company is 17 years, and the longest job tenure has so far been 52 years.

The average gross salary paid to the employees at VKG in 2018 was 1,480 EUR, which is more than one third higher than the average gross salary across Ida-Viru County. Employees get bonuses for doing evening and night shifts. The Group follows the Working Hours and Rest Time Act strictly. The working hours are established in the internal rules of conduct, in accordance with laws and collective bargaining agreement. Regarding the employees, whose working hours differ from the general rules established by the employer, this issue is regulated by the employment contract, with due consideration of the nature of work, its specific character, and working conditions. Among other things, shift work is opted for when the duration of the production process exceeds the permitted duration of daily work, and with the aim of using the equipment in a more efficient manner, increasing the output, or the volume of services provided. If employees work in shifts, every group of employees must work within an established period, in accordance with the shift schedule. When preparing the shift schedules, the employer takes due consideration of the opinion of the representative body of employees and informs them about the new schedule against signature no later than one month before the schedule comes into effect.

In addition to salary, tenure bonus is paid to the employees of the company as well as a child birth bonus, anniversary bonus, and funeral bonus on sadder occasions. Mothers with small children can take an additional paid leave.

We value our employees by maintaining different traditions: we celebrate the Chemists' and the Miners' Days, organise Christmas parties both for the employees and their children, hold 'thank-you' events for the employees celebrating an anniversary, special events for first-graders and their parents, when children get a schoolbag full of school supplies as a gift.

Personnel Development

The corporate learning and development system for the employees is in close connection with strategic plans and the demand of the Group for the employees holding specific qualifications and competence. First, we are geared to teaching our employees the skills and competences that they need and developing them as well as involving and training new specialists.

Training programmes are sorted out in accordance with the principle of priority setting in terms of the training needs across different employee groups and are based on the demands that are placed on the employees and the analysis of the contradictions within the existing competence level. We use a wide range of training means and methods, proceeding from their feasibility in terms of funds and methods applied.

In 2018, the subsidiary of the Group VKG Oil started preparing for certification in accordance with the ISO 50001 standard. In order to raise the level of awareness of our employees about the requirements arising from this standard, a training session has already been held, in which the high- and middle-ranking managers took part, the total of 50 employees. Certification is expected to take place in 2019.

In order to enhance the awareness of the managers in the field of quality, the training session has been held on the issues of risk management and the transfer from the standard OHSAS 18001 to the standard ISO 45001; this transfer in the companies of the Group is scheduled for 2019–2020.

In cooperation with Virumaa College of Tallinn Technical University, the training programme for the team of employees dealing with repairs was initiated on the following topics: equipment repairs, materials, mechanisms, and machine theory. The total number of training sessions is 96 hours. Besides, the training on the topic of total productive maintenance was organised for this target audience.

Information Safety

We pay a lot of attention to the provision of information safety: the IT protection system has been developed in the Group, we provide methodological help with regard to the processes of information safety, specialists on information safety take part in the development of IT solutions at the earliest stages possible.

In 2018, on the basis of the preceding analysis, the action plan in the field of data management and data safety was prepared, the main goal of which is to create the conditions for safe digital development, with due consideration of the level of threats related to computer technologies that is increasing dramatically.

The action plan contains a list of the main principles of data protection and the approaches to ensuring it, key elements of the target system, and key priority areas in the field of development of information safety. One important aspect of information safety is the minimisation of risks related to human factor. Consequently, relevant development trends include raising the awareness among employees regarding the threats related to computers, promoting information safety culture, and perfecting the skills of the employees in the field of information safety. In 2018, regular training sessions on the topic of cyber security were held, and users and technical IT staff were notified about new computer threats.

Cooperation with educational institutions

VKG has been providing scholarships via TTÜ Development Fund since 2006. Within 2006-2018, we issued grants for the total amount of 95,000 EUR.

VKG's bachelor’s degree scholarships are provided for up to two successful bachelor’s students of electrical engineering, mechatronics, earth sciences and geotechnology, environmental and chemical technology or thermal engineering at Tallinn University of Technology's School of Engineering. One scholarship is 1,300 euros.

VKG master’s degree scholarships are provided for one successful master’s student of environmental and chemical technology, fuel chemistry and technology, thermal engineering and electrical engineering at Tallinn University of Technology. One scholarship is 1,400 euros.

VKG's professional higher education scholarships are provided for up to four successful professional higher education students of fuel technology, industrial automation, machine building engineering, energy technology, chemistry technology, energy technology processes control and telematics and smart systems of Tallinn University of Technology's Virumaa College. One scholarship is 1,000 euros.

VKG scholarships support the students' motivation to acquire professions necessary in the Group and send a clear signal that we expect young professionals to join us.

Cooperation with trade unions

VKG supports the freedom of association, acknowledges the right of the employees to collective bargaining, and the right of every single employee for collective representation of his or her interests, including by a trade union organisation. The share of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements is 100%.

In 2018, the Group continued constructive partnership with the trade union of chemists. The valid collective bargaining agreement was entered into between the employer and the trade union in January 2018 for the term of two years, and all of the clauses in the agreement extend to all of the employees of the Group, regardless of whether or not they are members of the trade union. In the collective bargaining agreement, all the previous social benefits and bonuses have been preserved, and in addition to that, almost all of the amount of monetary payments have been increased. Another important change is that the new collective bargaining agreement has expanded the range of employees with benefits in case of being made redundant. Within the frames of the agreement, the cooperation between the trade union and the employer on the issues of enhancing safety and occupational and production discipline has been intensified, since those are the priorities of them both. Within the frames of this cooperation, the authorised people from the trade union received considerably more rights regarding the issues pertaining to occupational hygiene and safety. Both parties believe that it is only by cooperating with each other that we will be able to make the working environment even safer.

As of the end of the year, 528 employees of the Group were members of the trade union of chemists, 25 of which are also the authorised parties of the trade union.

Observation of human rights

VKG observes human rights with full compliance and does not allow discrimination on the grounds of nationality, gender, origin, age, or any other characteristic, recognises the right of workers to form collective associations and organisations and guarantees observation of the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities while arranging manufacturing operations in the areas they inhabit.

The company’s principles on observing human rights are set out in the following documents:

  • principles of production and environmental safety and occupational safety;
  • principles of human resource management;
  • the procedure for using personal data.

The realisation of these principles by the company is ensured by practical measures, such as:

  • taking the obligation to observe human rights and including these rights in the documentation of the company;
  • co-operation with interested groups on issues involving human rights;
  • developing return channels to allow interested groups to express their opinions or lodge complaints in the field of human rights;
  • supervising the observation of human rights by the company’s personnel and subcontractors.