15 May 2003
Swisscom is offering its social partners a continuation of the existing collective employment agreement and social plan until the end of 2005. Details on the extension are to be worked out over the coming months. Negotiations on the drafting of collective employment agreements tailored to the needs of the individual Group companies and a more economical social plan from 2006 will take place in two years. In making this offer, Swisscom is underlining its positive stance on social partnership and its responsibility as a major Swiss employer (current workforce: approx. 17'000 FTEs); this is particularly significant in view of the current trend in the job market and the general economic situation.
The offer is bound up with Swisscom's commitment to finding a separate arrangement for Cablex AG " a wholly owned subsidiary of Swisscom Fixnet " that is commensurate with the company's field of business. Cablex AG, which has around 560 FTEs and is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the fixed network, is facing stiff competition and declining market volumes. The move, which will involve the targeted adjustment of Cablex's cost structure, in particular in the personnel area, is aimed at safeguarding jobs and enabling the subsidiary to continue operating profitably in its own market. The need for change at Cablex has already been communicated to the social partners, and joint agreement has been reached to commence further discussions on socially acceptable solutions.
Today's social plan is very generous, but the costs exceed the amounts spent on social plans by other companies in the telecommunications sector or Swiss industry as a whole. Swisscom is unable to maintain social plan costs on this scale over the medium term, which is why the offer is limited to two years. During this period Swisscom intends to lower internal restructuring costs by reducing redundancy measures in the case of older employees.
The existing collective employment agreement provides modern terms and conditions of employment including a 40-hour week, generous child allowances and five weeks' annual leave. The social plan, in which Swisscom has invested around two billion francs since 1998, comprises an employment market centre (EMC) organised in the new Swisscom subsidiary PersPec, as well as Worklink AG and the start-up programme Co-Motion. For a period of 12 to 18 months, the EMC provides support to employees affected, helping them to examine new opportunities and find a new job; during this time employees continue to receive their full salary. Of the 1'650 or so persons who participated in the EMC programme, around 90 per cent have found new employment. Older employees who meet certain requirements are entitled to draw on the services of Worklink AG. The company offers temporary employment up to the age of 60, after which the employees take up early retirement. The Co-Motion start-up programme shows interested parties how to plan and start up their own business. Since 1999 the programme has assisted 170 start-up companies.
Berne, 15 May 2003