The relationship between collaborators and the organization is a key area, where the issues involved include workers’ rights, negotiation systems, communication methods and engagement.
Over the years, the Group has established a productive dialogue with the trade unions in every country in which it operates, in order to promote the identification of solutions that will balance the needs of individual workers with those of the organization. The Group guarantees each collaborator a transparent labor contract as well as the protection of employee rights, regardless of the specific labor contract for each business sector and/or country of reference.
Such transparency in the relationship results in the availability of several types of contracts: national and/or sector-specific labor contracts, collective and/or corporate labor contracts and individually negotiated labor contracts (in case of unavailability of collective labor contracts). In Italy, due to the economic crisis that has gripped the mobility sector and the concurrent reduction in consumer spending, the Group launched a work group with the unions for a review and identification of the solutions that might be introduced in a new round of collective bargaining.
Policies and regulations specific to each individual country are implemented to support a clear working relationship. Some significant examples include Canada, with the Provincial Employment Standards Act, defined by the Canadian Government; Great Britain, where the Works Council protects the rights of those employees not covered by a collective labor contract, and the United States, through the establishment of the Arbitration Committee. In some Asian countries, the absence of laws or trade unions responsible for the protection of workers’ rights means that local management must fill the void by managing their personnel according to policies and guidelines designed and implemented by the parent company.
Throughout Europe, Autogrill Group has developed clear working criteria through the European Corporate Committee (ECC), an information and consultation tool used by the Company and employee representatives to evaluate the Company’s performance and perspectives.
Information and consultation represent the ECC pillars and they have been progressively supplemented and enriched. The Autogrill approach to human capital is increasingly oriented towards a model based on periodic training meetings, which ensure recurring contact, facilitated through the implementation of web collaboration tools, dissemination and sharing of the Group’s Organizational Model, key projects currently in progress and an increasing propensity towards direct contact with people.
A new portal was launched in 2010: A–EWC, Autogrill European Works Council, which is the result of one of the first collaboration areas activated in Autogrill Intranet, where Autogrill representatives and European employee delegates share operating documentation, project progress reports and meeting schedules. This tool makes available a steady and reliable flow of information about Group events, with prompt updating, while concurrently providing a forum for contributions outside the officially scheduled meetings. In 2013 the training session dedicated to information and consulting continued within the "Empowering the new EWC Autogrill" project, which also obtained financing from the European Union in the context of social dialogue projects.
Moreover, it should be noted that based on the agreements reached at the Group level, should any significant organizational change occur that necessitates employee transfer, employees will be informed at least four weeks in advance.
Activities in progress were continued with the objective of sharing local best practices in Europe in relation to the issues that the ECC designated as priorities - health and safety, work/life balance, intra and intercompany mobility, quality and ergonomics in the workplace. Representatives of all Autogrill employees in Europe participate in this body as a result of an agreement that specifically establishes that “Corporate Social Responsibility programs” represent an institutional pillar for information and consulting.
With regard to the management of labor relations, a limited number of employee legal suits have been filed in the main countries in which the Group operates: in 2013 Autogrill Italia (about 11,000 collaborators) was involved in 134 litigations.
These lawsuits were mostly in reference to dismissals for just cause or the denial of extensions for fixed term contracts whose term had expired.