Agreement signed on redundancies at Telecom Italia

An agreement on redundancies at Telecom Italia was signed on 4 August 2010 by the government, company and trade unions. The agreement amends the Industrial Plan for 2010–2012, presented by the company in April, which had proposed 6,822 redundancies. However, this was changed when protesting unions asked the government to set up social partner talks. Now, 3,900 workers will enter ‘voluntary mobility’, and more than 2,000 employees will receive ‘solidarity’ contracts.

About the company

Telecom Italia is the biggest telecommunications group in Italy. It was created by the merger of five state-controlled companies in 1994 and was later privatised in 1997. According to data from Telecom Italia in March 2010, it employs 70,965 employees and operates in all areas of telecommunications (fixed, mobile and internet, multimedia and television). It is also present on the international market.

The company has recently gone through a process of restructuring which, in 2008, led to the signing of an agreement that stipulated recourse to a job mobility scheme for 5,000 workers by December 2010. In 2009, another agreement transformed 470 redundancies into 1,054 employment solidarity contracts (IT0908019I).

Announcement of redundancies

In April 2010, Telecom Italia’s Industrial Plan announced a total of 6,822 redundancies to be implemented by December 2012. In July, some 3,700 workers received their dismissal notices.

The sectoral federations – the Communication Workers’ Union (Slc-Cgil), the Federation of Information, Entertainment and Telecommunications Workers (Fistel-Cisl), and the Italian Communication Workers’ Union (Uilcom-Uil) – organised a national strike for the group on 9 July.

Following a request by the trade unions, Paolo Romani, Deputy Minister of Communications, and Minister of Labour Maurizio Sacconi, set up negotiations between the social partners.

Outcome of negotiations

On 14 July 2010, representatives from Telecom management, the unions Slc-Cgil, Fistel-Cisl, Uilcom-Uil, UGL Telecomunicazioni and the government met at the Ministry of Economic Development. Following this meeting, Telecom put the 3,700 announced redundancies on hold.

On 4 August, after a series of meetings, the parties reached an agreement.

Content of agreement

The principal aspects of the agreement (in Italian, 1.39Mb PDF) signed between Telecom Italia and the unions are outlined below.

Mobility

  • In 2010–2012, the company will set up mobility procedures (IT9802319F) for 3,900 workers. This means that they will be placed on a waiting list giving them preferential consideration for any new vacancies at the company, as well as compensation for their wages while awaiting employment. These people, however, will have the right to refuse the measure.
  • Workers in the mobility scheme will predominantly be those who will become entitled to retire while awaiting employment (a maximum of 36 months).
  • Workers in the scheme will also be guaranteed a monthly income of 90% of their monthly salary for the duration of the scheme. This compensation will be extended after the mobility period expires, until they become entitled to retirement.

Job security agreements

  • These agreements, stipulating lower pay and working hours for 1,100 workers, will be offered alongside vocational training programmes aimed at professional requalification.
  • Job security agreements for the 470 workers that were signed in 2009 will be renewed for another two years (IT0908019I);
  • Telecom Italia’s plan to sell off its information technology (IT) services company, Shared Services Company Srl, will be suspended. The 450 workers at this company will be offered job security agreements, together with vocational training and requalification programmes. The workers who do not want these agreements will be able to opt for the mobility scheme.

Other aspects of the agreement are:

  • the possibility of job relocation for 40 workers made redundant by the recent closure of Telecom Italia Learning Services (TILS);
  • a move to keep IT activities, human resources and customer operations in-house during the 2010–2012 period;
  • a stop on redundancies for the entire duration of the Industrial Plan.

Reactions of social partners

The Chief Executive Officer of Telecom, Franco Bernabè, says the agreement is perfectly in line with efficiency objectives foreseen in the Industrial Plan and that, at the same time, it guarantees workers’ protection from job losses.

Emilio Miceli, Secretary General of Slc-Cgil, favours the training as the best solution for restructuring problems that the company faces.

Vito Vitale, Secretary General of Fistel-Cisl, says he is satisfied at the company’s efforts to reintegrate certain important activities and the use of social shock absorbers to reduce redundancies.

Uilcom-Uil has expressed satisfaction that the mobility scheme will remain voluntary, and that Telecom has agreed to reintegrate some of its activities.

Sofia Sanz, Cesos

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