Industrial relations

Within the Human Resources Management Department of the parent company there is the Labour-Management Relations Unit which is assigned the task of monitoring the corporate policies regarding trade union relations.
Industrial relations are conducted within the framework of industry-level defined rules and provisions, by national bargaining (CCNL). A second negotiation level is anticipated between the company and the internal worker representatives, in which agreements are defined adapted to the specific corporate requirements.

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 2018, unionisation was 70.8%. There are 351 employees who hold management or trade union representation positions; of these, 21 hold positions of Workers’ Safety Representatives (RLS), designated following trade union agreement.

The agreements reached during the year by the company with the Trade Unions (OO.SS.) concerned significant matters under negotiation, including: welfare, flexibility, smart working and performance bonuses.
In particular, the Group Framework Agreement of 14 February 2018 defined a new model of high-profile, innovative and participatory industrial relations, delegating to the company headquarters the definition of implementation agreements on issues that the National Collective Agreement refers to the second level (e.g. performance bonuses, work organisation, flexibility systems and working hours, the welfare system, etc.) (see dedicated box). With this in mind, during the year the Unit provided employees with an email address where they can receive detailed information on agreements, provide feedback on the quality of company initiatives, etc.

The Group framework agreement of 14 February 2018

In 2018, Acea entered into a Framework Agreement that defines a planned negotiation path with fixed implementation times, focused on topics central to the achievement of the objectives set out in the strategic plan.
The Agreement promotes structured worklife balance initiatives like smart working, flexible hours and measures to support parenting, etc. and enhances the skills of workers, with solutions that envisage the possibility of employing staff in different operating companies as needed regardless of where they are normally employed, recognising employee merit with an advanced system of individual assessment (the same used for managers and executives) in line with the New Leadership Model implemented by the Acea Group. Also worthy of note:

  • the new way of entering the company to promote stable, quality employment provides for underclassification by 2 levels for the first two years of employment and 1 level for the third year, as well as apprenticeship as the predominant form for hiring young people;
  • furthermore, all personnel employed in Acea with permanent contracts will continue to enjoy the protections envisaged in article 18 of Italian Law 300/70 (as amended by Italian Law 92/2012) as stipulated prior to the entry into force of Italian Legislative Decree no. 23/2015. 
This agreement also envisages the establishment of Bilateral Commissions (composed of representatives of the company, workers and the CRA) to examine and deal with aspects related to safety, training and welfare, stressing the centrality of these issues for Acea.

Also as part of the Framework Agreement, Acea reached the following agreements in 2018:

  • operational flexibility with respect to the possibility of involving Areti and Acea Ato 2 personnel in emergency plans in the event of exceptional events that may compromise the security of networks and water and electricity systems;
  • performance bonuses and welfare, which for the first time allows for the possibility of converting the performance bonus into “Welfare Credit”;
  • agreement on smart working, which introduces agile work to the Group in a structured manner;
  • flexible hours and measures to support parenting, which extends the application of measures already provided for by legal or contractual regulations: days of parental leave and permits for integration into school (see also the Diversity and inclusion sub-section);
  • Industry 4.0 to consolidate the technological knowledge provided for in the dedicated National Plan in the company;
  • agreement on the classification of personnel that provides for the identification by a Bilateral Committee of additional professional positions with respect to those defined by the National Collective Labour Agreements of reference.

Other agreements have been made through second-level bargaining on the performance bonus - 2018 productivity indicators and on working hours, work organisation, professional development, video surveillance, etc..

In the water sector, by virtue of the Memorandum on Water Tender Contracts signed in 2012 by Acea Ato 2 together with Acea SpA, the Confederal Trade Unions and the Trade Federations, a number of meetings were also held in 2018 (see the Suppliers chapter).

As regards the information notice to the employees regarding possible organisational changes or corporate reorganisations that effect employment relations, the company takes different positions, depending on the different cases explained below:

  • organisational changes: In the event of establishment of new Units or changes in assignments or responsibilities, the Human Resources Management Department issues an Organisational Provision, sends a communication to the competent facilities which arrange to post it on the bulletin board and publish it on the company intranet. Usually, if there are organisational changes that affect the staff, special information is given to the trade union representatives. Should it affect a single employee (for example change in workplace, schedules, etc.) a special communication will be delivered to the employee by the Human Resources Management Unit of the home company;
  • corporate reorganisations: in the event of reorganisation, as a result of significant organisational and production changes, with effects on working conditions and employment, the methods of informing the employees, as well as 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 force1 which anticipates obligation that allows them to verify the business reasons for the operations, the correct methods of the process as well as the consequences on the employment relations.

Disputes with employees and trade unions

The labour disputes that concern Acea mainly concern disputes over dismissals, classification changes, differences in remuneration, indemnities not received, demotions and harassment. In 2018, there were 15 new labour cases, about half of which were initiated by employees of contractors. The figure is lower than in the previous year (in which there were 45 disputes initiated), while the total number of disputes still pending – including those initiated in previous years – amounts to 85 cases.
During the year, other 55 rulings were issued, 3 of them initiated during the same year.

[96] Art. 2112 Italian Civil Code and Art. 47 Law 428/90 as amended.