On 08 April, the French energy group together with three European union federations signed a European agreement that aims to especially allow each employee to build his/her career path in the group against a backdrop of organizational change. The agreement also makes serious concrete commitments on training, for which an annual budget over three years of €100 million will be allocated, and facilitates internal mobility in a bid to safeguard employability within the group. This new agreement is part of a trend towards developing European-wide negotiations that look to put social safety nets in place for European workers during company restructurings. This type of cross-border company negotiation is in no small part due to the existence of the European Works Council (EWC).
Training as the main lever for employability. In this section the agreement contains very concrete measures because the group commits to an annual training budget of €100 million (for three years) that will cover at least two thirds of workers (in each of the businesses) in terms of training to develop and strengthen their skills and competences. Every year, each business will identify those employees that have not completed skills training in the three previous years to analyze, with the employee, the reasons why this is the case and to remedy the situation. These studies will be carried out on an annual basis for employees working in ‘vulnerable professions’, states the agreement.
Indeed, an annual €10 million European support fund set aside for businesses in financial difficulty and dedicated to career reconversion action, will be set up. In addition, each business will be able to discuss annual training plans with the employee representatives that will be built from development interviews conducted at least every three years with each employee.
In the section on mobility, the agreement provides for incentives (especially financial for voluntary mobility and sets out guarantees (covering costs of relocating, training etc.) for those volunteering as well as for those part of mobility moves linked to a change in the business organization. In all cases a one-month salary bonus will be paid. For circumstances involving changes in the organization the group commits to identify at lest three jobs and sets the goal of making at least one firm job offer “which must be as close as possible to the employee’s skills and personal situation.”
Besides, ENGIE commits to systematically seeking to preserve the collective social guarantees during its organizations’ various transformations. To this effect the following are intended:
- a social diagnosis, as early as possible in terms of the impact from the development of a organization project, to be conducted on a joint party multi-discipline basis
- negotiation should commence to develop measures destined to “compensate for the impact on the collective social guarantees” on the basis of the social diagnosis and of a clear comparisons being made.
This agreement was signed with three European union organizations: IndustriALL Europe, EPSU (European Public Services Union and the EFBW (European Federation of Building and Woodworkers).