Industrial relations

Industrial relations between Terna and the trade unions that represent its employees take place at both the electricity-industry level and the Company level.

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All Terna’s employees8 are covered by a collective employment contract adopted by the companies in the electricity industry (NCEC, in Italian CCNL – the National Collective Employment Contract for employees in the electricity industry). This industry-wide contract governs many aspects of employee pay and benefits, such as minimum pay for various professional grades, treatment of shift workers, holidays, 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 Trade Unions. The current NCEC expired on December 31, 2012, and was renewed in February 2013.

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Relations with Trade Unions in the industry also give rise to the regulation of indispensable tasks that must be performed, in the event of a strike, to ensure continuity of service. At Terna, this issue is governed by the National Union Agreement signed in February 2013, which implements Italian Law No. 146 of June 12, 1990 regarding exercising the right to strike in essential public services and approved by the watchdog committee for the aforementioned law.

As workers responsible for national transmission grid transmission and operating activities the following shift workers are exempted from strikes:

  • operators responsible for real-time control of the national electricity system, for remote control of transmission plants, for verifying production plans and for acquiring the production resources necessary for the dispatching activity;
  • workers with the task of carrying out the control, coordination and operation of computer systems, auxiliary services and infrastructures governing the dispatching of electricity nationwide;
  • workers in the Security Operations Center.

As regards on-call personnel, the agreement in question establishes that, although they have the right to suspend normal performance during the strike, they are obliged to be on-call throughout the duration of said strike. Provided that strikes are called in compliance with legal and contractual provisions, there are no limitations on exercising the right to strike for Terna's remaining personnel.

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The 2010 NCEC provided for the establishment of a bilateral body – at the electricity industry level – on “Health, safety and the environment”, with the task of strengthening safeguarding of occupational safety starting from shared objectives agreed on between the parties. In particular, the body 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 body.

Employee involvement in matters of health and safety is currently regulated by the law, which provides for Employee Safety Representatives (ESRs) to be elected by all the employees. The ESRs 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 aforementioned renewal of the NCEC, the role of the ESRs was expanded to include environmental issues, so they are now ESERs.

Representatives can ask the Company to carry out inspections and are consulted about risk assessment and the identification of preventive measures. At least once a year they attend meetings with the employer and other corporate figures responsible for health and safety to examine the appropriateness of the personal protective equipment and training programs, as well as the repercussions of introducing new technologies.

The relationship between Terna and the trade unions at the company level is governed by the Protocol on the industrial relations system which defines a system of relations divided into contract negotiation, discussions, consultation and advance and/or periodic information.

Terna's employee union membership rate in 2012 was 61.7%, which is high compared to the industry average and in line with the figure for previous years; membership is concentrated in the largest unions. Management of the Protocol on the industrial relations system has enabled the parties to develop and consolidate an effective network of relations at all levels, thus allowing the processes of change of significant corporate interest to be governed.

In the three years 2010-2012, bargaining with the industry trade unions led to the signing of 41 written agreements.

As regards 2012, industrial relations activity was characterised, in the first half of the year, by discussions with the national trade union secretariats on the new corporate framework of the Terna Group which ended – after the procedure set out in Art. 47 of Italian Law No. 428/90 concerning rental of the business unit by Terna S.p.A. to Terna Rete Italia S.p.A. – with the signing of a written agreement.

In the second half of 2012, discussions also began with the National Secretariats of the trade unions on the new organizational model for Terna Rete Italia's Operations Department.

The project provides for the creation of three new Regional Departments, functionally integrating the operating activities currently performed in the context of the “Lines” and “Stations”, and gradually introducing multi-skill figures, centralizing operating, planning and construction activities at the level of Regional Departments, allocating responsibilities for Regional Dispatching reporting to the competent Regional Departments, redefining the scope of work of the Central and Regional Engineering Units, and rationalizing the geographical distribution of the operating bases.

Adopting the new organizational model will make it possible to strengthen regional oversight of operating and plant maintenance activities and of management for operating processes, and will increase the effectiveness of integration between the Maintenance and Dispatching areas at the regional level, optimizing Grid management. It will also enable the introduction of multi-functional roles which will combine a management profile with traditional technical skills, as well as creating professional growth and development opportunities for the new multi-skill figures capable, among other things, of ensuring mixed availability (lines/stations). Finally, it will enable rationalisation of investment allocation.

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The involvement of the Trade Unions in the event of organizational changes is one of the central aspects of industrial relations: it is regulated both by legal provisions, industry-wide contracts, and company agreements. According to law, in the event of mergers, acquisitions or other significant changes in the company's ownership structure identified by the law itself, the workers' representatives must be informed and consulted at least twenty-five days before any 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. In these discussions the Company must make available the documentation necessary to ensure a complete overview of the organizational project, enabling observations and proposals to be formulated. At this stage, advance information remains at the collective level. Individual employees are informed in advance only if the organizational change entails them being transferred to a different office. In this case, workers must be informed in writing at least thirty days in advance.

 

(8) The 3 employees of the subsidiary Terna Crna Gora d.o.o., operating in Montenegro, are covered by an individual contract which reflects the provisions of the local collective contract.