Industrial relations

Industrial relationsThe industrial relations between Ternai and the labor unions that represent its employees take place at both the electricity-industry level and the Company level.

All of Terna S.p.A.’s employees are covered by a collective labor contract adopted by the companies in the electricity industry (in Italian, the CCNL – the national collective labor contract for employees in the electricity industry). This contract governs many aspects of employee pay and benefits, such as, for example, the minimum pay for the different professional categories, the treatment of shift workers, vacations, overtime, supplementary health care, and supplementary pensions. Terna participates in establishing the industry’s rules, because it is part of the employer delegation that negotiates the renewal of the contract with the labor unions. The three-year CCNL in effect was signed on March 5, 2010 and expires on December 31, 2012.     

The relationship with the industry unions also gives rise to the regulation of the indispensable tasks that must be performed in the event of a strike to ensure the continuity of the service. At Terna, this issue is governed by the National Union Agreement of November 12, 1991, which implements Law n. 146 of June 12, 1990 regarding the exercise of the right to strike in essential public services and was approved by the watchdog committee for the aforesaid law.

Among other things, the agreement provides in any case for the exemption from strikes of the personnel that is indispensable for supplying the service and entrusted with short-term planning, as well as the operation and maintenance of the production and transmission system. With regard to such provisions, at Terna this exemption concerns in any case the shift workers of the National Control Center, the Grid Services and Productioni-Plan Services, the Distributioni Centers, and the Plant Remote-control Centers.  

It should be noted, however, that when the CCNL was renewed on March 5, 2010 guidelines were established for the subsequent definition of the new regulations regarding the right to strike in the electricity industry. These guidelines confirm the principle of service continuity in the event of a strike and introduce on an experimental basis innovative elements regarding strike procedures for personnel on call.    

The renewal of the CCNL provided for the institution of a bilateral, industry-level organism on “Health, Safety, and the Environment”, with the task of enhancing the safeguard of occupational safety, beginning with common objectives agreed on by the parties. In particular, the organism is to make proposals, monitor, and coordinate training regarding environmental and safety issues. Provision was made for the possibility of establishing – in companies with more than 500 employees – bilateral corporate committees to work in cooperation with the industry organism.

Employee involvement in matters of health and safety is currently regulated by the law, which provides for Employee Safety Representatives (RLS) to be elected by all the employees. The RLS thus represent 100% of the employees and their number varies according to the number of the company’s employees and offices. Their role involves seeing that regulations regarding the health and safety of workers are applied. During the aforesaid renewal of the CCNL, the role of the RLS was expanded to include environmental issues, so they are now RLSA.  

In March 2009 Terna and the Company unions signed an application agreement. The corporate agreement of March 2009 is only one of the numerous elements of the relationship between Terna and the unions at the Company level. The industrial relations in the Company are based on the involvement of the unions in the main aspects of corporate life, the distinction of roles and responsibilities being understood. Union relations at the Company level are governed by the Protocol on the system of industrial relations, which establishes a structured system of relations regarding advance and/or periodical negotiation, discussion, consultation, and information.   

The employee union membership rate at Terna S.p.A. in 2010 was 61.2%, which is high compared to the industry average, but represented a slight decrease compared to previous years. Membership is concentrated in the largest unions, which determines the absence of fragmentation in union representation and constitutes the condition for a high-profile system of industrial relations.

In the three-year period 2008-2010 bargaining with the industry labor unions led to the signing of 33 agreements. Pending the establishment during second-level bargaining of the regulations for the three-year period 2011-2013, with particular regard to 2010, a significant event was the signing of the agreement with the national union leadership concerning the rules and economic appropriation for the Performance Bonus for 2010.

Finally, advance discussions were held regarding the new organizational structure of the Dispatchingi and Management, Grid Developmenti and Engineering, and Procurement and Contract Work Departments. The involvement of the unions in the event of organizational changes is one of the essential aspects of industrial relations, and it is regulated by provisions of the law and the industry contract, as well as agreements at the Company level. According to the law, in the event of mergers, acquisitions, and other significant changes in the company’s ownership structure as specified by the law itself, the workers’ representatives must be informed and consulted no less than twenty-five days prior to binding agreements.  

In accordance with the union agreements in effect at Terna, in the event of significant organizational changes preliminary discussions with the unions must be held, to be concluded within three months. The Company is required to make available all the documentation necessary for the union representatives to obtain a complete view of the organizational project in order to make observations and proposals. At this stage, the preliminary information remains at the collective level. Individual employees are informed in advance only if the organizational change entails their transfer to a different office. In this case, workers must be informed in writing at least thirty days in advance.