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Freedom of association and social dialogue

In December 2014, Telefónica renewed the Global Agreement signed with Union Network International (UNI) in 2000. The new agreement takes into account progress in the field of corporate responsibility, in accordance with the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which make clear that companies are to respect human rights in all their operations.

On 1st December 2014, at Telefónica we renewed the agreement with Union Network International (UNI), thus confirming our commitment to the International Labor Organisation's (ILO) regulations concerning freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. In virtue of this agreement, we strengthen our commitment to uphold and respect fundamental and union rights.

In 2014 the number of employees that had signed negotiated agreements amounted to 77,051, representing 62.3% of workers.

Collective bargaining in Europe

Telefónica Europe (TE) has a European Work Committee (EWC) that informs employees and requests their feedback in order to promote dialogue and the exchange of opinions on transnational matters. Each business operation has a specific number of worker representatives elected to carry out said role. The selection of representatives is carried out in accordance with each country's regulations and practices. Among those elected, the EWC appoints a president, at present Christoph Braun (Germany), and a secretary, a post currently held by Angie Prangall (United Kingdom).

The European Work Committee is made up of ten worker representatives: five in the United Kingdom and five in Germany. Additionally, the European Work Committee elects five members for a Special Committee (SC). The latter meets frequently with Telefónica's Central Committee to discuss the most pressing issues, such as developing a new CER agreement after the expiry of the current one.

The European Work Committee meets every six months to discuss transnational matters, as well as all other issues brought up in connection with Telefónica's operations in Europe. These matters generally concern changes in structure and organisation, Telefónica's economic and financial situation in Europe, the introduction of new work methods and technologies, mergers, transfers or redundancies, and social and human resources policies which include matters concerning health, safety and equal opportunities.

The EWC's last meeting was held at the Company's headquarters in Madrid. Issues dealt with included the global simplification model; the new global HR system –SuccessFactors–, 'Business Intelligence & Big Data'; the 'German Transformation Update', as well as a business update presented by the Company's Director of Global Resources, Guillermo Ansaldo.

Collective bargaining in Spain

During 2014 important advances were made at Telefónica España in the area of collective bargaining, and agreements were adopted to conclude the professional classification model and to create the new position of communications operator. Such agreements have allowed the Company to advance in terms of its efficiency and productivity goals, and to improve employability among workers. Furthermore, progress has been made in the development of agreements to facilitate the convergence of labour conditions between workers at the fixed and the mobile operators (unification of budgets for social funds, unification of circumstantial income earned during the holidays for certain salary items, modification of the variable remuneration model, etc.).

Additionally, at the meeting of the Permanent Negotiations Committee in December 2014, it was decided not to extend the Collective Agreement in force, in order to continue advancing in the flexibility and efficiency measures laid out in the Company’s strategic plan.

Collective bargaining in Latin America

2014 also saw a lot of progress made in terms of work agreements in Latin American countries.

Peru. Collective agreements were signed following direct negotiation with all the union organisations (four fixed-line telephony organisations and three mobile telephony organisations), except in one case, which led to an arbitration process that concluded with a ruling in favour of the Company's position.

Brazil. Support for workers during the implementation of the BPO project, when several of T-gestiona and Finance Management's activities were transferred to our partner, Accenture.

This support came in the form of a negotiation with the workers' union, aimed at minimising risks connected to redundancies (approximately 1,000 contracts were terminated). Support was also provided for the negotiation of administrative agreements with employees who had left the Company, through a committee called 'Comissão de Conciliação Prévia (CCP)', on the subject of payment of work funds owed, when these have been duly indicated by the employee and confirmed by their supervisor, thus decreasing the risk of future work-related legal suits.

Collective agreements were negotiated in relation to the Profit Participation Package (PPP), based on the same models used during the past two years. Agreements were also negotiatied in relation to salary reinstatement, resulting in monthly instalments for Health Plans being introduced in some municipalities and current discounts being increased in all others, thus reducing costs by granting this benefit.

Colombia. In 2014 a process was carried out to directly link analysts belonging to the face-to-face care channel, with the aim of obtaining high levels of productivity and quality concerning the sale and warranty period of products and services, thus reducing occupational risks within the context of Colombian labour law.

Meetings were held regularly by the Work Mediation Committee and Copasst (the Joint Committee on Occupational Health and Safety), to monitor and manage the cases presented therein.

The Department of Labour Relations minimised risks in distribution channels (Commercial Brokerage), including all matters connected to HR and labour legislation in contractual terms.

Argentina. The year's most important achievements  in this country were the signing of the collective work agreements for mobile activity with FOPSTTA, FOEESITRA, UPJET and FATEL which are currently in the process of being standardised by the appropriate authorities, thus extending union representation for this activity nationwide. Elsewhere, dialogue has been inititated with the unions for fixed activity concerning a Company proposal to unify sales offices. In the same vein, the signing of a framework agreement for a Quality and Prevention plan for technical domains is expected shortly. Additionally, the Company is holding conversations with the unions concerning the impact that each of them might have as a result of the upcoming implementation of our Team Management and Time Management projects. 

Advance notice periods concerning employees and elected representatives

Telefónica meets all agreements foreseen in the Workers' Statute (WS) concerning substantial changes in labour conditions, taking into account the distinctions determined by law:

a) Changes affecting individuals: Decisions that substantially modify individual labour conditions must be notified by the Company to the affected worker and his/her legal representatives at least 15 days prior to coming into effect.

b) Changes affecting collectives: These must be preceded by a consultation period with workers' legal representatives, lasting no longer than 15 days. The decision is to be notified to workers by the Company's management once the consultation period has ended and if no agreement has been reached, and it will come into effect in the 7 day period following the date at which it was notified.

In the case of Spain, regulation additionally establishes that when restructuring takes place within the organisation, the Company's management is to inform the relevant Work Committee 15 days in advance of the restructuring being effected, so that it may issue the required report.

On the other hand, conventional rules establish that work restructuring motivated by technological, economic, technical, organisational or production-related innovations, is not a valid reason for contractual termination by means of the procedures provided by articles 51 and 52-c) of the WS. In case it were necessary to restructure activities and said process were to have a direct impact on the volume of employment, no workers connected to such activities will be forcibly reassigned without prior agreement with workers' representatives.

In Spain, in the event of restructuring processes that affect work organisation, the Inter-Centres Committee must be informed in advance. The Collective Agreement establishes that work re-organisation motivated by technological, economic, technical, organisational or production-related causes, are not a valid reason for contractual termination by means of the procedures provided by the WS. Furthermore, on the subject of activity restructuring, in the event of this occuring and affecting the volume of employment, forums for dialogue and negotiation will be established with workers' representatives.

Lastly, concerning the rights recognised for workers' representatives, the agreements establish that CE, employee delegates and CI, are to issue a prior and mandatory report whenever there are substantial changes concerning work organisation, which is to be transmitted at least one week in advance. In both cases, and in accordance with Spanish law, were there to be substantial changes in collective employment conditions, it is obligatory to inform workers' representatives at least 15 days in advance.