Corporate social partnership at EVN
“Convince rather than force” is the principle underlying the corporate social partnership at EVN. Employee representatives are therefore informed of major business decisions on a regular basis and integrated in the transparent decision-making processes that are based on the managerial mission statement and legal regulations. This approach applies to strategic decisions as well as to changes and adjustments involving employees. Similar to EVN AG, the larger companies in the EVN Group have also designated special employee representatives.
Employees’ interests are represented in the form of works councils or trade unions. Over 90% of all EVN employees are represented by such bodies and their remuneration is protected by collective bargaining agreements, tariffs or legal minimum wage regulations. In Austria, Macedonia and Bulgaria, employee-related issues are handled in workplace, health and safety committees that also include representatives of the works councils or unions. Members of the works council also serve on the Supervisory Board and the Advisory Committee for Environmental and Social Responsibility. Apprentices have also had a voice in the works council since the first youth representatives were appointed in 2008. The last election of youth representatives took place in June 2014. A European works council was founded in September 2007 to further integrate the South Eastern European subsidiaries and to improve cross-border communications. This council serves as a platform for communication and exchange and includes members from Austria, Bulgaria and Macedonia. The last conference was held from 9 to 11 September 2013 in Burgas, Bulgaria, and the last presidium meeting on 5 and 6 June 2014 in Maria Enzersdorf.
- GRI indicators: Minimum notice periods regarding operational change (LA4); Percentage of employees in occupational safety committees (LA5); Percentage of employees under collective agreements (G4-11); Ratios of standard entry level wage by gender compared to local minimum wage at significant locations of operation (EC5)
The remuneration for the members of the EVN Executive Board reflects industry standards and is disclosed in point 67 of the consolidated notes here. As described above, the remuneration scheme for 90% of EVN’s employees is based on the collective bargaining agreements that apply to the main business locations. These collective bargaining agreements are available for review by the general public and include salary levels as well as the definition of time-dependent salary increases. In 2013/14, the annual collective bargaining negotiations in Austria led to an average increase of 2.4% in salaries.
- GRI indicators: Report the ratio of the annual total compensation for the organization’s highest-paid individual to the median annual total compensation for all employees (G4-54); Percentage increase in annual total compensation for the organisation’s highest-paid individual to the median percentage increase in annual total compensation for all employees (G4-55)
EVN also places a special focus on the needs of the following employees:
The average age of EVN employees currently equals 43.8 years, but this figure is projected to rise over the coming years due to the expected increase in the legal retirement age. EVN has therefore introduced specific personnel development measures and part-time working models within the context of a partial retirement programme. In 2013/14, 54 employees at Netz Niederösterreich GmbH, EVN AG, EVN Wasser and EVN Business Service decided in favour of a part-time working model.
Based on the current legal retirement age, approximately 7% of EVN’s employees will retire during the next five years and nearly 22% in the next ten years. EVN is working to meet the resulting need for specialists and managers with specially designed programmes and measures to support the transfer of know-how between older and younger employees.
EVN also incorporates the needs of the various age groups in the development of its health programme and gives special attention to the needs of senior employees.
- GRI indicator: Retirements in the next five and ten years (EU15)
Individuals with special needs
EVN places high value on integrating people with special needs in its workforce, not least because of its socio-political responsibility as a major employer. Particular importance is given to the individual design of workplaces and processes (e.g. using sign-language interpreters) to facilitate the integration of these employees into everyday business operations. Additional opportunities regarding working hours and locations are available if required. 21 of the 26 EVN customer centres in Lower Austria are also equipped for barrier-free access.
EVN employed 120 men and women with special needs in 2013/14, representing 1.6% of the total workforce. In addition, Netz Niederösterreich GmbH and EVN Wärme GmbH placed orders of a total value of approximately EUR 626,000 with sheltered workshops during the reporting year and, in this way, made a contribution to the employment of individuals with special needs.
EVN traditionally attaches great importance to apprentice training for young people. This not only reflects the Group’s focus on social responsibility, but also helps to meet the demand for skilled professionals. An information afternoon with an emphasis on practical demonstrations was held at four customer centres in October 2013 to give interested young people, above all girls, a glimpse into the workday of an electrical technician with a utility company. EVN had a total of 52 apprentices in 2013/14, including twelve who started their training to become electrical technicians on 1 September 2014. Additional classes and seminars at EVN complement the dual programme of theoretical vocational school education and practical on-the-job training. EVN also supports double and multiple qualifications, e.g. apprentice training to qualify as natural gas and heating technicians, as a means of improving interdisciplinary qualifications.
The high quality of training is also demonstrated by the fact that the majority of apprentices remain with the company after completing their programmes. Of the 22 apprentices who started their training with Netz Niederösterreich GmbH in 2008, 21 finished successfully and have been chosen for fixed employment; as of 30 September 2014, 19 of those apprentices that started in 2008 were still employed with EVN. Experienced colleagues support the young technicians after their training is completed and thereby ensure the transfer of their know-how and experience. Every year EVN also gives more than 300 schoolchildren and students an opportunity to put their theoretical knowledge to use and gain their first practical experience in traineeships. These activities underscore EVN’s goal to give young men and women opportunities at an early age and to awaken their interest for professions in the energy and environmental sector. This commitment brought EVN a second place ranking in the “Place to Perform” competition in 2013 (first place in 2011; second place in 2012), which evaluates the best traineeships among Austrian companies.
EVN also has a strong commitment to cooperation with students and young professionals in Bulgaria. In April 2012, EVN Bulgaria and the Technical University Sofia signed a cooperation agreement to promote the practical skills of students as well as the exchange of experience in areas such as information technology and electrical engineering. More than 400 students have used this opportunity to learn about EVN since that time. EVN Bulgaria also organised a “Youth with a future“ internship programme in 2013/14, which gave talented young people an opportunity to develop their interests and gain experience in one of the headquarters departments in Plovdiv in the course of a traineeship.
- GRI indicator: Notification deadlines for major changes within the company (LA-4)