Trade Union and industrial relations

Iren Group has always focused heavily on proper industrial relations, based on legislation and company and national collective labour bargaining, in compliance with the National Collective Labour Agreements of reference and the principles of the Code of Ethics, with particular reference to the ILO conventions (see note on page 92). Iren and the Trade Unions have signed a Group Industrial Relations Protocol, which dictates the rules that govern relations between the parties. This has led to a model being put in place based on the sharing of business decisions, which aims to enhance the value of individual workers who, in order to enable healthy development, must be involved and grow in step with the entire organisation. The shared decisions lead to a sense of belonging and, at the same time, place the employee centre stage. The Protocol sets out the methods for approaching industrial relations based on three pillars: bargaining, participation and rules.

Industrial relations are organised on three levels:

  • Group level, on topics of general interest and/or transversal to businesses and areas and on the trend and development of business sectors, or industrial policies, guidelines on organisational structures, the economic results of the Group and the business segments, the harmonisation of Company agreements, the coordination of reference National Collective Labour Agreements and Company integration;
  • Company level, on topics regarding individual Companies or a cluster of Companies, for which a Unitary Union Representative Body (RSU) is established;
  • local level, on topics regarding the single production unit, downstream of the company level, or on topics thatconcern several Companies located in the same area.

Furthermore, procedures are defined for developing relations based on information sent to the Trade Unions, discussion and consultation (exchange of information and evaluations, acquisition of opinions, requests or indications from Trade Unions, verification of phenomena on matters specifically identified to seek possible points of convergence), and negotiation (discussion between the parties aimed at reaching agreements that are binding on them).

The Group’s Industrial Relations Protocol also establishes two participatory bodies: the RSU National Coordination and the RSU Executive Committees, while bilateral Committees (environment and safety, education and training, equal opportunities and welfare) are established for analysing specific issues.

Industrial relations also in 2021 were characterised and influenced almost entirely by the Covid-19 health emergency, and the Protocol facilitated, in a highly critical context, relations between the Group and the Trade Unions. The emergency legislation has contributed in this sense, in fact, based on the provisions of the Italian Ministerial Decree of 11 March 2020, the Government and the Social Partners signed (14 March 2020) the “Shared Protocol for the regulation of measures to combat and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the workplace“. In this context, the 9 Committees for the application and verification of the rules of the National Protocol, set up in March 2020 at territorial and sectoral level (made up of company representatives, Trade Unions, HSR and Occupational Health Physician), continued to operate and during the year held 25 meetings with the aim of monitoring and managing any criticality caused by the health emergency.

At Group level, in continuity with 2020, various agreements were signed with the Trade Unions, with the shared aim of seeking and adopting solutions for the management of work activities during emergencies. In 2021, four agreements of a temporary nature were signed, all involving corporate measures to manage the Covid-19 emergency, in line with regulatory provisions issued by the government.

Considering the persistence in 2021 of the critical issues caused by the pandemic, which also made it impossible to hold meetings in-person with the Trade Unions, industrial relations and the related agreements signed have had the flexibility, training and digitalisation that determine the new forms of work organisation, also involving industrial relations in the process of change. In relation to these issues and in application of the national regulations governing the New Skills Fund, the Group and the Trade Unions signed a New Skills Fund agreement on 28 May 2021, with the central purpose of focusing strongly on staff training and retraining with the aim of:

  • developing projects and interventions to bring about a profound cultural change, with an organisation of work based on processes, objectives and results, as well as flexible working hours to encourage the right balance between private and professional life;
  • acquiring and/or expanding digital, technological and soft skills, as a fundamental lever to support the processes of adaptation to new organisational and production models and professional development.

In continuation of the agreement signed with the Trade Unions in 2020, the solidarity vacation mechanism was also used in the first few months of the year. The Group workers and companies donated vacation entitlement to those who had used up theirs, in order to adjust the working presence of personnel to situations of reduction or suspension of activities without impacting on wages

Moreover, on 28 June 2020, an agreement was signed on the 2021 performance bonus, a fundamental tool for redistributing company profitability and one of the main levers for stimulating worker involvement in the Group’s performance and improvement.

Consolidated practices provide that, in the event of significant organisational changes (establishment of new business units or changes to the organisation of work), company management informs the Trade Unions in order to seek shared solutions, where possible. Therefore, employees are notified of these changes through formal notifications issued and distributed via the Group Intranet and/or e-mail and posted to Company notice boards. For changes to working hours, the National Collective Labour Agreements require that management inform the Trade Unions and convene a consultation meeting for the purposes of a joint review. The time frames for the conclusion of discussions on the topic may vary from 20 to 60 days, after which the Parties can take the action they deem most appropriate. The contracts also cover transfers, providing for at least 30 days’ notice in the event of an employee being transferred to another municipality, with the Trade Unions being informed with adequate notice in the event of collective transfers, which are usually followed by a meeting between the Group and the Trade Unions.

In 2021, the Group lost, definitively, 16 lawsuits concerning employees and former employees with an outlay of 348,999 Euro.