Company-level agreement signed at Carrefour Group
After 16 months of difficult negotiations, the Carrefour Group in Italy and the sectoral trade unions have signed a company-level agreement covering more than 25,000 workers. The new agreement comes more than 18 months after the employers’ unilateral cancellation of the previous agreement, and it sets out the company’s investment plan, including guarantees of vocational training, clear rules about working time allowances and the strengthening of labour relations.
The Carrefour Group is one of the biggest retail trade companies in Italy. It employs about 25,000 workers, has 451 retail outlets in Italy and a turnover of €6.8 billion (Carrefour).
A previous supplementary agreement of Carrefour Italia was cancelled by the company in July 2009 and, from 1 October, was substituted by a ‘Company Plan’. This is a series of measures regarding employee working conditions that was unilaterally established by the company.
In protest at the cancellation of the company level agreement, the sectoral trade unions took Carrefour to court, accusing it of anti-trade union behaviour. Furthermore, they organised a number of protests across Italy.
In November 2009, a tribunal sentence suspended the Company Plan and forced Carrefour to apply its previously cancelled agreement up to 31 December 2009, and encouraged the social partners to revive negotiations in order to define a new bargaining platform. Consequently, bargaining restarted in order to renew the company agreement. After 16 months of complex discussions, an agreement was finally reached.
Contents of agreement
Following a month of workers’ assemblies, the agreement (in Italian, 843Kb PDF) was definitively signed on 9 February 2011 by the top management of the Carrefour multinational and the following trade unions:
- the Italian Federation of workers in Commerce, Tourism and Services (FILCAMS-CGIL);
- the Italian Federation of Trade Unions: Services, Commerce and Tourism (FISASCAT-CISL);
- the Italian Union of Workers in Commerce, Tourism and Services (UILTUCS-UIL).
Through this agreement, the company confirms the investment and development plan for 2011/2012.
The principal contents of the agreement are as follows:
Trade union relations
Social partners have resolved their tensions in industrial relations caused by the cancellation of the previous agreement by Carrefour and confirm that a constructive and collaborative relationship will be revived. To this aim, the actors have identified matters of information and negotiation at various levels as laid out in the agreement: European, national, regional and at local/single branch level.
Employment levels and vocational training
The company considers training to be of fundamental importance to encourage the professional growth and development of workers. Therefore, the company foresees:
- a training plan of 192,000 hours of managerial, normative and professional training (a 10% increase compared to the previous year);
- bringing apprentices onto the workforce with a commitment to change more than 80% of apprenticeship contracts into open-ended contracts;
- an increase in paid leave of up to 160 hours so workers can participate in training courses, together with 40 hours allowed for the preparation of exams.
Working hours and organisation
Working hours will be modified as follows:
- breaks during working hours will be paid;
- workers absent due to workplace injury and illness will receive 100% pay;
- a system of pay incentives has been defined regarding Sunday and bank holiday work, to be added to the percentage already foreseen in the agreement;
- flexible daily working hours and/or programmed weekly hours are foreseen, together with the ability to swap duties within each single productive unit.
The actors agreed to come up with a new system of productivity premiums by 31 December 2011, which will replace the current model of a fixed company premium. This new system of incentives will be based on new productivity indicators with a new maximum of more than €1,200.
The social partners have agreed to promote equal opportunities in the workplace and to this end, an equal opportunities commission has been set up which will carry out a series of specific interventions.
Social partner reactions
For Filcams-Cgil, the Carrefour supplementary agreement reinstates a series of important institutions such as paid breaks during working hours and 100% pay following workplace illness or injury. However, it believes certain areas need to be discussed further.
According to Pierangelo Raineri, Secretary General of Fisascat-Cisl, the agreement represents the reintroduction of proper industrial relations, which could be useful in developing a new phase of decentralised bargaining.
Brunetto Boco, Secretary General of Uiltucs-Uil, considers the renewal of the company agreement as an indication that trade unions will be able to protect salaries in times of difficulty.
Sofia Sanz, Cesos