[G4-HR4] [G4-DMA Employment] Telecom Italia has always entertained open, transparent relations with the trade unions and workers’ representatives, in the belief that it is only through continuous, constructive dialogue that the best possible balance can be struck with respect to the expectations of all stakeholders.
[G4-11] All Group workers, both in Italy and in Brazil, are covered by Collective Labour Agreements reached with Trade Union Organisations and all personnel are guaranteed the possibility of attending union meetings, in terms of paid leave and company space to enable them to be held, as well as of freely participating in consultation procedures for the election of trade union representatives. In no Group operations is the right to union participation at risk or disputed. Amongst other things, union agreements lay down the ways in which these rights can be enforced and establish the bodies in charge of controlling compliance therewith. [G4-LA4] Organisational changes with significant effect on employment levels and personnel are discussed with the trade union representatives and, in some cases, an ad hoc agreement is stipulated, specifying the terms and conditions of the reorganisation. [G4-HR5], [G4-HR6] Collaboration with the workers’ representatives, together with the internal control systems and procedures, has meant that no violation or risk has been reported with regards to the application of the Group’s Social Responsibility policies protecting the essential rights of employment, such as the ban on forced labour or child labour1.
Telecom Italia S.p.A.
The Telecom Italia system of industrial relations is based on participation, which is seen as a value to be pursued in any discussion, not only in negotiations. The year 2015 featured several discussion and information sessions with union representatives in accordance with the established national and local industrial relations structure.
The 2016-2018 Business plan focuses on industrial development and on strengthening the pursuit of technological leadership in the domestic market by increasing investments and building new technology infrastructure networks; important investments in the most strategic sectors for the future business of Telecom Italia, in order to ensure the Company’s commitment to innovation and allow the necessary levels of competitiveness and efficiency to be achieved. The main objectives include equipping the country with a modern new generation network structure, reaching 84% of the population with fibre optics and more than 98% with the 4G mobile network in 2018. Implementing the plan also requires a professional remix to renew the portfolio of skills available and, wherever possible, ensure that high value activities are carried out internally. In discussions held on aspects connected with the employment-related effects, the parties explored every possible solution to identify socially non-traumatic instruments that would be economically sustainable for the people working in the Company. In this respect, an agreement was reached in September 2015 that established a course for implementing the plan aimed at achieving operational efficiency while safeguarding jobs.
The instruments identified, which were subsequently the subject of implementation agreements, are:
- solidarity contracts for a period of two years with a commitment to extend it for a further twelve months, in order to allow redundancies to be minimised over the three-year period, particularly through early and voluntary retirement using the other legal tools identified;
- support for early retirement using the voluntary redundancy tool;
- recourse to article 4 of the Fornero law, which allows older workers to bring forward their retirement by immediately receiving an amount equal to the pension accrued until that date (so called early retirement paid for by the Company). The Company will continue to pay social security contributions as well until the actual retirement age is reached;
- professional retraining, in order to allow workers currently employed in areas where efficiency needs to be improved toretrain in order to perform more valuable activities providing medium to long term stability of employment.
In order to lessen the financial hardship caused by the reduction in working hours under the solidarity contracts, which is only partly offset by the INPS contribution, the Company has decided to provide company loans at subsidised rates for employees who specifically request them2. The ultimate purpose of the operation is to ensure stability of employment at Telecom Italia and therefore protect jobs and improve competitiveness. The agreement also provides for the Company to pay the workers covered by solidarity contracts a one-off sum as a bonus at the end of the solidarity suspension if the overall implementation of the plan has been positive and its objectives have been achieved.
Particularly intensive discussions continued with executive employee representatives, allowing socially sustainable instruments to be identified, in addition to the ones normally available in the Company, to assist with the necessary right-sizing, ensuring it is not traumatic and is able to reconcile staff turnover administration and management remix requirements.
In this respect, an important agreement was signed with executive representatives that provides for the voluntary departure of a maximum 150 executives who fulfil legal requirements. As a result, executives will be able to benefit from the mutually agreed termination of their employment contract if they fulfil the minimum requirements for retirement or early retirement within four years of the termination, with the Company paying out a benefit equal to the pension to which the workers would be entitled based on existing rules and continuing to pay INPS the contribution until the minimum requirements for a pension are fulfilled.
In full compliance with current legal provisions, Telecom Italia S.p.A. carried out the procedures required with the relevant union representatives regarding two separate corporate transactions, both successfully completed with an agreement between the Parties. In particular, the Telecom Italia S.p.A. business unit was transferred from the Tower department to Società Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane S.p.A.. (INWIT). This initiative fulfilled the objective of establishing an independent radio network infrastructure operator who can develop and enhance the towers business involving various types of electronic communication service operators and ICT players. As part of the procedure, specific agreements were signed on maintaining the salary levels and contractual terms and conditions applicable to the employees affected by the transfer.
Discussions between the Company and the unions were similarly positive aimed at completing the procedure for the merger by incorporation of Telecom Italia Media S.p.A. into Telecom Italia S.p.A.. The operation helped rationalise and simplify the Group’s structure and to ensure a more efficient management of the process of enhancing Persidera S.p.A., also by seizing medium to long term opportunities.
Moreover, a complex and fruitful series of discussions was held between the Company and the unions on the scope of Telecom Italia’s involvement in Expo 2015, as its Official Global Partner, and the associated need to oversee the event as effectively as possible.
In this context, an agreement was signed with the unions that governed Telecom Italia’s oversight and support operating model for Expo and all the associated aspects, including working hours, shifts and availability of Company staff who contributed to this event.
Meetings were held to discuss the 2015-2016 amendments to collective agreement ACT 2014/2016. They began in September 2015 and ended in December, when the amendments were approved unanimously across the country. The Company held five meetings with the two national Federations (FENATTEL and FITTEL), which together represent the country’s 27 trade unions. The negotiations related to financial aspects, including salaries increases and benefits. With regard to health care for children, the age limit for insurance was raised: from a maximum of 6 years of age to 7 years. Finally, the 28th, 29th and 30th of December were recognised as holidays.
1 In terms of child labour, the policies allow for some, completely legal exceptions, such as, for example, training contracts for which incentives are provided by the Brazilian government.
2 Official ECB refinancing rate currently at 0.05%.