Industrial relations

The boundaries

The information and data presented in the section Industrial relations refers to: Acea SpA, Acea Distribuzione, Acea Illuminazione Pubblica, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici, Acea Energia holding, Acea Energia e Acea Produzione, Acea8cento, Acea Ato 2, LaboratoRI, A.R.I.A, SAO and Aquaser.

The Consolidated contract for the electricity sector and the Consolidated contract for the gas-water sector are applied within Acea and, within Avea8cento, an ad hoc contract is applied, specifically defined with the pertinent national associations. All the employees are therefore covered by collective bargaining agreements.

During 2012, 74.8% of company employees were members of trade unions, a figure in line with the previous year (74.6%); the resources who were executives or representatives of trade unions came to 347, 17 of which covering the role of Workers’ Safety Representatives (RLS), appointed further to the entering into of a statement of agreement by 6 of the 7 unions  with whom Acea structurally has trade union talks.

During the second half of the year, negotiations were launched for the renewal of the Consolidated contract for the electricity sector and the gas-water sector, both having expired on 31 December 2012.

Numerous aspects were subject to renewal negotiation talks, in detail, with regard to the Consolidated contract for the electricity sector, they concerned:

  • classification: a reform of the classification system is under discussion, which envisages the unification of minimum wage and contingency, with the consequent decrease of the number of levels and review of the professional profiles;
  • strikes: an essential agreement has been reached on the overall framework which should be formulated in the new contract;
  • the labour market: updates to the contractual text are being discussed as a consequence of the legislative innovations introduced by the so-called “Fornero” Reform Law as well as further to Italian Decree No. 167/2011 which defined the new apprenticeship contract;
  • the contractual set ups and trade union bargaining: the formalities for implementing the contents of the national multi-industry agreement between the Government and Social Partners on Productivity, dated 16 November 2012, are being checked, with particular reference to the possibility of assigning part of the salary increase, deriving from the renewal, to the 2nd level contract, thereby making the most of the corporate bargaining aimed at seizing productivity improvements also accompanied by legislative measures for tax and social security relief. The appropriateness of defining a specific Protocol to support the 2nd level bargaining is also being discussed, which will acknowledge the principles of the derogable nature at corporate level of the discipline established by the National Collective Labour Agreement (CNNL);
  • union approvals: within the framework of the complex reorganisation of the system, aimed at aligning at sector level the instruments available to the Trade Union Associations (OO.SS.) for the performance of their appointment, talks were undertaken for the standardisation of the discipline relating to the management of hours of trade union leave;with particular reference to those due to the Unions in relation to the number of workers in the companies;
  • working hours: for the purpose of rendering the contractual legislation more heedful to the need for efficiency of the companies, the re-formulation of certain institutes relating to working hours is being negotiated (overtime, multi-period, manhour database, etc.).

With reference to the Consolidated contract for the gas-water sector, the negotiations are at a less advanced stage with respect to those of the electricity sector Contract, also due to the request of the Trade Unions and the employers’ delegation - Confindustria Energia - to include the gas-water contractual area within the Energy macro-segment, together with the Energy and Oil segment. This position has not met with the approval of Federutility, the association which Acea is a member of and which represents 76% of the multi-utility companies active in the Water and Gas sector, to whom the contract under renewal currently refers. 

The contents on which negotiation has been launched with the trade unions include the employment market, the contractual set ups and trade union bargaining and the working hours; additional aspects dealt with for the Consolidated contract for the gas-water sector include:

  • availability: unification of the discipline of availability is pursued by means of overcoming the bargaining obligation and the definition of a remuneration which creates a rebalance of the relationship between mere availability and effective work service; 
  • the periodic seniority increases: the intention is to outdate the institute by possibly establishing compensatory amounts on Supplementary Welfare.

During 2012, the questions dealt with and defined by the Industrial Relations Unit with the Trade Union Associations (OO.SS.) concerned all the profiles of trade union talks: legislative, economic and work organisation.

With regard to organisation and working hours, the following agreements were entered into:

  • for Acea Produzione - Tor di Valle/Montemartini complex, an agreement was signed regarding working hours and shifts;
  • with regard to Acea Ato 2, in order to ensure adequate supervision with respect to labour-related legal and contractual provisions, an agreement was entered into regarding the Emergency Service in the Rome and Fiumicino area;
  •  inrelation to Acea Distribuzione, in accordance with the new specifications established by the AEEG with regard to the registration of blackouts in the electricity distribution service for the 2012-2015, a statement of agreement was signed with the Trade Unions. In the same agreement, the commitment was undertaken to meet so as to define the implementation of the second part of the WFM (Work Force Management) pilot project which will concern the control activities on meters, disconnections due to arrears and reconnections, connections and take-overs.  A regulatory statement of agreement has also been entered into on the video-surveillance of the buildings and the plants.

The agreements reached during the year, included some which concerned topics of primary importance for the human resources such as the results bonus, the labour market, the aspects of health and safety in the work place.

In detail, with regard to the 2nd level negotiations, in line with the commitments undertaken in the agreements signed in 2008 and 2011, Acea SpA and the Group companies have entered into an agreement with the Trade Union Associations Filctem /Cgil and Uilcem/Uil relating to the review of the indicators of the Results Bonus for 2012.

With regard to Acea8cento, the IQF indicator (Supplier Quality Index) was updated, this being associated with the disbursement of 33% of the productivity/quality factor.

In consideration of the new set up and the business prospects of A.R.I.A. and SAO, the overall review of the technical-legislative structure of the 2nd level negotiations was deemed appropriate. In July, two separate agreements were entered into which respectively discipline the new results bonus and the vouchers for the three-year period 2012-2014. As from 1 January 2013, the companies shall pay over an additional amount for each employee benefiting from supplementary healthcare so as to cover dentist costs.

With reference to the labour market, Acea SpA, in the name and on behalf of Acea8cento, Federutility and the national Secretariats Filctem-Flaei-Uilcem entered into an agreement for the discipline of apprenticeships, recognised as being a preferential contractual induction instrument for finding human resources. Thus in line with the principles laid down in the Consolidation Act, which came into force in 2011, which delegated the main source entitled to discipline this institute to national multi-industry agreements or labour contracts drawn up at national level.

In relation to the matter of trade union availability, in consideration of the changed organisational set-up of the Acea Group as well as the significant legislative amendments regarding the health and safety of workers, the companies Acea SpA, Acea Distribuzione, Acea Illuminazione Pubblica, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici, Acea Energia holding, Acea Energia, Acea Produzione, Acea8cento, Acea Ato 2, LaboratoRI  and the Trade Unions, with the exclusion of UGL Chimici Energia, entered into - as already mentioned - a statement of agreement for the appointment of the new Workers’ Safety Representatives.

Furthermore, again in 2012, two agreements were entered into, one valid for the entire Group and the other for Acea8cento, for the application of the facilitated tax regime on accessory components of remuneration attributable to productivity increases, innovation and efficiency.

Within the sphere of the corporate reorganisation processes, during the first half of the year the procedure relating to the transfer of the business segment of SAO - Servizi Ambientali Orvieto to COSP TECNOSERVICE Srl was concluded, pertaining to the activities and resources dedicated to the waste collection and transportation services in the area of the Province of Terni.

Of particular importance among the agreements reached during the year, was the Water Tenders Protocol entered into in June by Acea SpA, Acea Ato 2 and the Trade Unions Cgil, Cisl e Uil, with the respective sector representatives (Filctem, Flaei, Uilcem, Fillea, Filca and Feneal), updating and replacing the previous protocol in force. The Protocol on the Water Services was entered into for turning to account the quality of the work and the safety at worksites by means of monitoring and control initiatives and action; accordingly, the establishment of a Joint commission was agreed, dedicated to monitoring activities on the tenders with particular reference to the measures for the prevention and safeguarding of the safety of workers and the observance of the contractual obligations undertaken vis-à-vis the same. The Commission had already met and commenced work back in 2012 (also see the section Suppliers).

With regard to the training area, the companies Acea SpA, Acea Distribuzione, Acea Ato 2, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici and LaboratoRI complied with the Training plan furthered by the FOR.TE. Fund (Fondo Paritetico Interprofessionale Nazionale per la Formazione continua del terziario) which provided funding for the purpose of the adaptation and development of the skills of the employees as well as the growth of the competitive capacity of the companies. The contents and the breakdown of the Plan, valid for the 2012-2013 period, were agreed on with the Trade Unions.

With regard to the prior disclosure to employees regarding any organisational changes or corporate reorganisations capable of affecting the employment relationships, it is as well to clarify that the company adopts different conduct depending on the eventualities illustrated below:

  1. organisation changes: in the event that new Divisions are established or the mission is amended, the Acea SpA Human Resources and Organisation Division shall issue an Organisational Provision, make communication of the same to the pertinent structures who then take steps to publish it on the notice-board and corporate Intranet. As a rule, the trade union negotiations indicated above are held on any changes introduced which affect workers; when these changes affect the individual employee (for example: changes in place of work, working hours, etc.) said individual is sent a specific communication;
  2. corporate restructuring: in the event of restructuring, further to significant organisational and production changes, with consequences on working conditions and employment, the methods of informing the employees, as well as their Trade Union Representatives, are disciplined by the CCNLs applied within the Group and the Industrial Relations Protocols;
  3. corporate transformations (such as transfers, mergers, take-over bids, transfer of business segments): in the cases of corporate transformation, the notifications provided to the employees are disciplined by current legislation82 which envisages disclosure obligations vis-à-vis the workers’ representatives, such that they are permitted to check the industrial justification of the operations, the correct formalities of the process as well as the repercussions on the employment relationships.

82 Article 2112 of the Italian Civil Code and Article 47 of Italian Law No. 428/90 and subsequent amendments further to Italian Legislative Decree No. 276/2003.

Box – Disputes with Employees and Trade Unions

During 2012, the types of disputes furthered by human resources vis-à-vis Acea mainly concerned the following aspects: grade review, wage/salary differences, indemnities not received (e.g. shift pay), demotion and mobbing.

With respect to last year, the overall amount of the disputes (129 positions) remained unchanged. The opening of new cases of dispute by contrast disclosed a drop (16 positions with respect to the 32 in 2011).

During the year, with regard to the dispute pending with the workers of the former COS (Almavia Contact), relating to the phenomenon of alleged intervention of workforce for the call centre services, 39 transactions were entered into, in some cases envisaging economic agreements, in others employment within the company Acea8cento. 13 positions are still being negotiated, again for the purpose of reaching a settlement for this dispute.

With reference to the petition for alleged anti-trade union conduct pursuant to Article  28 of Italian Law No. 300/70 presented last year by the trade union USB Lavoro Privato, containing the request for the appointment of its own Workers’ Safety Representative (RLS), the Employment Tribunal in the first instance declared that this right existed. In 2012, further to the opposition of Acea, the Tribunal reformed its decision declaring the inexistence of anti-trade union conduct and thus the inexistence of the right of the Trade Union

In 2012, a petition was served for alleged anti-trade union conduct pursuant to Article  28 of Italian Law No. 300/70, by the trade union UGL ENERGY vis-à-vis Acea Ato 2, regarding the alleged failure of the comply to reply to the request for the acknowledgement of an additional economic amount for staff qualified as foremen. The Tribunal rejected the petition ordering the Trade Union to reimburse the trial costs.

With reference to the dispute proposed by the workers of the former COS (now Almaviva Contact) and B2WIN, relating to the phenomenon of alleged intervention of workforce, an economic-type settlement solution was adopted  which led, on the one hand, to the cessation of the matter under dispute with certain of the plaintiffs and, on the other hand, mediation aimed at the employment by Acea8cento of the majority of the plaintiffs. Accordingly, during 2012 the number of positions for which the legal dispute still remain open has been reduced to just a few; in any event, further mediation is underway for these positions.

The disputes still open in opposition proceedings relating to the treatment of shift workers in the electricity area on the various method of remunerating ordinary services on weekday holidays during 2012, was settled favourably for Acea.

The last two appeals relating to the Lay-off procedures were in conclusion settled, relating to the period 2003-2004, one favourably for the company, and the other not; the deposit of the related sentence is awaited for the latter.