The Industrial Relations Unit of the Holding (Human Resources Management Function) oversees the company’s policies regarding trade union relations, ensuring consistency with the Group’s objectives. The discussions on the specific corporate requirements are conducted within the framework of national collective bargaining (CCNL) at the sector level, and between companies and internal employee representatives.
The Industrial Relations Model applied in Acea, renewed last year, defines a system of high-profile trade union relations based on bilateral agreements and participation, combining business objectives and social demands.
In 2019 an Industrial Relations Protocol was signed that structures the system of union participation and dialogue on three levels – Group, industrial segment and corporate – and defines some areas of discussion for each level: economic and financial performance, employment policies, selection, promotion, development and training of staff, occupational safety, corporate welfare, promotion of diversity and inclusion; industrial policy and investment plans; performance bonus, organization of working hours, technical and specialized training and professional development.
For the main agreements signed during the year, see the dedicated boxes.
In line with the inclusive logic of the Model, during the year Acea defined a procedure for consulting workers, directly or through their representatives, on central issues such as safety at work, respect for the environment and the sustainable development of production. In addition, in order to encourage the involvement of employees in union relations, an email address was made available in 2018 with which, for example, it is possible to request further information on the agreements reached or provide feedback on the quality of company initiatives.
Bilateral Commissions are also operational (composed of representatives of the company, workers and the CRA) and express their opinions on the main agreements reached.
The company promotes the participation of Trade Union Organisations in the election of Unitary Trade Union Representations (RSU) and Workers for Safety and the Environment (RLSA).
Acea applies the Single Contract for the electricity sector and the Single Contract for the gas-water sector. All the workers are therefore covered by national collective bargaining agreements.
In 2019, unionisation was 70%. There are 310 employees who hold management or trade union representation positions; of these, 19 hold positions of Workers’ Safety Representatives (RLS), designated following an agreement.
THE GROUP AGREEMENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY: ISOPENSIONE
In 2019, in line with the commitments made in last year’s Group Framework Agreement, Acea entered into an innovative social security agreement with the Trade Unions for the management of generational turnover, the so-called “isopensione”. The pension accompaniment measure is provided by INPS, with the company’s contribution, and is aimed at managers, office staff and workers who meet the requirements for retirement or early retirement pensions in the four years following the termination of the employment relationship (i.e. from 1 January 2020 to 30 November 2024, with the date of termination of the employment relationship by 30 November 2020). The possibility of receiving the isopensione in 2020, established at a Group level, may concern 140 people, with an order of priority linked to health conditions, proximity to retirement and professional category (managers and office staff).
In July 2019, thanks to the collaboration of the Bilateral Commission attended by all trade unions, the Company Recreational Club (CRA) and the representatives of the Group companies, a Trade Union Agreement was signed that allowed the launch of the Group Welfare Plan (see dedicated box). Finally, also in 2019 discussions were carried out between the parties under the Protocol on Water Contracts (see the Suppliers chapter).
THE GROUP WELFARE PLAN
The Welfare Plan, aimed at increasing the personal, work and family wellbeing of employees, was designed based on the identification of their needs, carried out through a survey, which had a response of about 30%.
The Plan offers services to individuals and families (travel, transportation and health insurance, supplementary pension, etc.), accessible from the My Welfare platform. In the first six months of activation, 2,767 people benefited from at least one welfare service provided by the platform, choosing from initiatives relating to: family (47.9%), supplementary pension (24.7%), travel and holidays (8.8%), health insurance (4.9%), mobility and transport (4.9%), etc.
The Plan also provides for the opportunity to convert the gross amount of the performance bonus into welfare services, thus increasing people’s purchasing power: 833 employees, equal to 18.4% of those entitled, chose this opportunity. 52% used the services offered, with a preference for those intended for the family (24%), and 48% paid the sum to their supplementary pension. Acea paid an additional percentage, ranging from 12% to 16%, to those who chose to allocate the performance bonus to their supplementary pension, and an additional share (between € 10 and € 40) to those who allocated the amount to the Pegaso Fund.
To promote the Plan and welfare initiatives, numerous information meetings were held for employees, and 250 dedicated Ambassadors were trained. Acea has redeployed part of the tax relief enjoyed thanks to the Welfare Plan for the benefit of employees, both with the additional disbursements mentioned above, and by offering health services and preventive check-ups (endocrinological, dermatological, etc.), extended also to family members (see also the section on Protection of health and safety at work), the renewal of the dental agreement with the addition of new services, and for employees enrolled in the health insurance fund the activation of Long Term Care insurance that protects people in the event of loss of self-sufficiency.
As regards the information notice to the employees regarding possible organizational changes or corporate reorganizations that effect employment relations, Acea takes different positions depending on the situations explained below:
• organizational changes: In the event of establishment of new Units or changes in assignments or responsibilities, the Human Resources Management Department issues an Organizational Provision, sends a communication to the competent functions, which post it on the bulletin board and the company intranet. In the event of organizational changes that affect the staff, the trade union representatives are informed. If they concern a single employee (change in workplace, schedules, etc.), they are notified by the Human Resources Management Unit of the person’s Company;
• Corporate reorganizations: in the event of organization, as a result of significant organizational and production changes, with effects on working conditions and employment, the methods of informing the employees and the Trade Union Representatives, are regulated by the CCNL applied in the Group and by the Labour-Management Relations Protocols;
• Corporate transformations (such as alienations, mergers, acquisitions, transfers of company branches): in cases of corporate transformation, the notices to the employees are regulated by the legislation in force95 which anticipates obligation that allows them to verify the business reasons for the operations, the correct methods of the process and the consequences on the employment relations.
DISPUTES WITH EMPLOYEES AND TRADE UNIONS
The labour disputes in Acea mainly concern dismissals, classification changes, differences in remuneration, indemnities not received, demotions, harassment and employment relationships.
In 2019, there were 23 new labour cases (15 in 2018), most of which were initiated by employees of the Companies. The total number of disputes still pending – including those initiated in previous years – amounts to 97 cases.
During the year, other 30 rulings were issued, 2 of them initiated during the same year.