Union relations and transnational social dialogue

The Group recognises the right of its employees to join a trade union, to appoint workers' representatives and to exercise the relative functions (including the right to collective bargaining), in accordance with freedom of association and with local regulations and practices.

The Group's employees are free to join trade unions. In Italy, 38.9% of employees are union members; meanwhile, figures on trade union membership in other countries are not available because registration to trade unions takes place externally and companies are not informed for reasons of privacy. In France, companies are specifically forbidden by law from asking their employees to disclose such information.

During business combinations and corporate restructuring activities, the Group protects the value of each employee by providing, where necessary, training and professional requalification that takes into account the skills and experience of each person. This training aims to facilitate intercompany integration and the assignment of new tasks. Corporate restructuring may also be accompanied by voluntary redundancies, relocation (seeking to obtain the consent of interested parties) and transfers to other Group companies.

Employee representatives are suitably informed of significant organisational changes at least 30 days prior to the implementation of such changes (25 days in the event of company transfers). The only exception is France, where the minimum notice period for these initiatives is eight days before the meeting at which they are fully communicated to employee representatives.

Transnational social dialogue takes place with the European Works Council (EWC), a body that represents the Group's European workers and which consists of 43 delegates from the 17 Member States of the European Union, and through relations with the Select Committee, an 8-member body that represents the EWC. In 2012, 61,719 of the Group employees, or 77.7% of the entire workforce, were represented by the EWC.

In 2012 the Agreement that regulates the role and method of the EWC was renewed; more specifically, the concept of informing and consulting workers' representatives with regard to transnational issues and projects of significant interest to employees was redefined. Five ordinary meetings took place (three with the Select Committee and two plenary meetings) together with two extraordinary meetings to discuss the renegotiation of the Agreement and ongoing transnational projects. Members of the Group's Top Management and the Parent Company's Top Management attended the meetings, underlining the importance that the company places on issues of social interest to its employees. Finally, this year the EWC delegates' training project co-financed by the European Commission - DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion - came to a conclusion.