Report of the Works Council
2017 was the first full calendar year for the new Works Council team after taking office in April 2016. In addition to a number of formal processes for requests for advice and consent, we also devoted time to other matters facing the business or the employees. Particular issues that spring to mind include the further elaboration of the sustainable HR and employment conditions policy and the collective labour agreement that was agreed on for a four-year period. However, our attention also went to the further outsourcing of activities, efficiency measures and the planned closure of Oldeboorn. Striking the right balance between the interests of the business and the interests of the employees serves as a guideline for all our actions, and involving employees adequately and in a timely fashion is very important. The dynamo teams were a useful format in elaborating certain components of the employment conditions.
The Works Council also actively participated in the Core Team in 2017. We once again accomplished a great deal of work together with the director and the trade unions. In the months to come, we will continue to actively work with and in the Core Team in order to benefit as much as possible from this cooperation.
Many steps were taken in relation to HR and employment conditions in 2017. The Flow Career Centre was opened, for instance, where employees can spar about possible next steps in their careers. Many colleagues also participated in the ABC workshops. Both initiatives support the more active attitude we want employees to take towards their own career. The ground rules of the workforce principles are also important for the necessary internal mobility. In addition to central coordination for recruitment & selection, this also strengthens the opportunities for the company's own employees. An element that was still missing in 2017 was the strategic personnel plan. This plan must not only visualise the development of the workforce, but also the shifts in the skills that Gasunie will need in the future.
In 2017, the director asked us for advice or consent on eight topics: scrapping the role of GT3 specialist, reorganisation within the L unit, reversing the split of GTS into two BV companies, taking out a new loan, reorganisation of the I unit, transfer of the personnel administration to the corporate service centre, appointment of a health and safety officer and the new structure of hazard identification and risk assessment. We were not asked for advice on the closure of the Oldeboorn compressor station.
We also provided unsolicited advice in relation to a larger foreign investment in which we called attention to both internal and external communications concerning this investment. In relation to another foreign investment, the information provided gave cause to forgo a formal advice procedure.
In a number of other cases, we opted not to follow a formal process because employee involvement was already sufficient or because relatively minor adjustments were concerned. Examples of this include the transfer of the Peakshaver to GTS and the changes in the T and V units.
The amended approach to outsourcing change projects (‘Forward Integration for Contractors’ or ‘VIA’) required a great deal of attention, partly because our colleagues had many questions and concerns. These concerns related to safeguarding internal expertise, but also to consequences for employment. Various discussions with the management and additional communications managed to eliminate many concerns.
We organised the annual discussion with the Supervisory Board in 2017 as well. We had chosen ‘workforce fit for the future’ and ‘Gasunie's role in the energy transition’ as themes. The event was once again a success and provided opportunities to share ideas with each other on various topics in an open and animated setting.
In 2018, the Works Council once again has its work cut out for it. Gasunie's role in the rapidly changing energy landscape poses many challenges, both for the business and for employees. Internal cooperation and the involvement of all employees are essential. The Works Council will continue to contribute to this to the best of its ability.