Swisscom Collective Employment Agreement post 2004: negotiations broken off by the unions
10 October 2002
Negotiations on the renewal of collective employment agreements after 2004 began at the end of September. On the basis of past experience, negotiations between the social partners can last several months. However, after just the second meeting the unions have broken off negotiations because the gap between the positions of the two sides is too wide.
The unions broke off negotiations before the content of the employment conditions after 2004 could even begin to be discussed. The disparity between the negotiating positions of Swisscom and the unions is currently too great.
Swisscom wants a new innovative model for its progressive terms of employment which better reflects the new group structure and affords the group companies greater flexibility in shaping their employment relationships. The unions do not accept this strategy.
The timeout now gives the social partners the opportunity to rethink their positions. There is still sufficient time remaining to complete this round of negotiations. The current collective employment agreement and social plan are valid until the end of 2003.
Swisscom is fully committed to strong social partnership and is striving for acceptable solutions. An indication of the strength of past cooperation is the 2001-2003 Collective Employment Agreement with a 40-hour week, 5 weeks- holiday, modern working time models and market-oriented employment conditions which are better than average in Switzerland. From an international perspective, Swisscom's social plans can be seen internationally as best-practice models. Since the beginning of 1998 Swisscom has invested over CHF 1.8 billion in social plans. Swisscom provides 100% of the finance for the Employment Market Centre, the Co-Motion business starter programme and Worklink AG (arrangement of temporary work and early retirement for long-serving employees). A solution is found for 97% of all employees who go to the Employment Market Centre. Since full market liberalisation on 1 January 1998, Swisscom has reduced headcount by around 4000 because of loss of market share and cost pressure.