Respecting human rights
Health and safety are important priorities for Gasunie, both for our people and the communities in which we operate. We also set great store by diversity and equal opportunities. We do not tolerate discrimination or other unethical behaviour. In our chain management as well, human rights are explicitly included in supplier selection by the use of the Uniform European Tender Document. Grounds for exclusion in the procurement process include child labour and violations of other human rights.
In the Trends & developments section, we explain which trends in the energy market and the labour market are affecting our company and employees. Using the strategic personnel plan, we endeavour to translate these developments into the impact on our workforce, both in terms of numbers of employees and the required knowledge and skills. As such, the plan provides insight into the effects of our Operational Excellence programme and the changing use of our gas infrastructure and the maintenance policy. In 2017, we offset a decline in these activities using our flexible workforce (approximately 110 FTEs).
The strategic personnel plan also provides insight into the impact of our international and energy transition activities. For these activities, we saw growth of approximately 10 FTEs for 2017. The development of these activities is accompanied by more uncertainty and, in the current development phase, often requires different competencies. In fleshing this out, we give our own employees the latitude and resources to develop the necessary competencies. Overall, we expect a further decline in FTEs in the coming years, which will also affect our own employees. The starting point here is that we want to guide employees from work to work.
Taking into account the general developments and trends in the labour market and, more specifically, the developments in the energy market and the impact these have on Gasunie, we further fleshed out organisational and leadership development over the past year and continued developing our sustainable employability programme.
Sustainable HRM and employment conditions policy
In 2017, we continued the journey we started in previous years, in mutual dialogue with the Works Council and the trade unions. In collaboration, we put together a balanced and future-oriented package of employment conditions for the coming 4 years. The key starting points were room for employees to be in charge and sustainable employability. In this context, we took the aforementioned developments in our surroundings into consideration, translating them into a package of measures with respect to employment and other relationships, sustainable employability, job satisfaction, and remuneration and productivity.
Gasunie’s pension scheme expired at the end of 2017. A committee in which pension experts from the employer and the trade unions were represented prepared a new scheme. The key features of this scheme are as follows. The current scheme will be continued for a period of 4 years because new pension legislation is expected in 2021. The standard retirement age will be increased from 67 to 68 years, with legal effect from 1 January 2018. Due to the persistently low interest rate, the premium needs to be increased significantly, despite the raising of the standard retirement age. The employer and employees will each contribute half of the necessary premium increase from 1 January 2018 onwards.
In order to be a flexible organisation, we need employees who work in an engaged and productive way, both now and in the future, and who continue to add value to our company or for another employer, in other words: employees who are ‘sustainably employable’. As of 1 January 2017, employees can make use of the new additions to our sustainable employability programme. The programme focuses on four themes: vitality, work situation, career and flexibility. These themes have been worked out in various options, such as coaching, retraining and career counselling. The options were conceived of and elaborated by employees themselves. The programme is funded partly by the employees themselves and partly by the company. This package is a starting point and will be further adjusted and expanded in line with employees’ needs over time.
Training and development
We believe in the concept of ‘life-long learning’. We think it is important for our employees to be able to develop and pursue personal growth during their careers, as this helps to improve sustainable employability. We offer our employees the opportunity to follow specific courses and training programmes, including tailor-made programmes. These are regular training programmes, which are offered in addition to the programme for sustainable employability. At Gasunie in the Netherlands, we spent € 2.9 million on training programmes and courses in 2017.
In October, we started ‘Impuls’, the development programme that supports managers in their role in achieving our strategic objectives for 2023. Every four months, a topic is highlighted in an inspiring way via ‘Impuls’, and managers and employees alike can actively get to work on the topic. Here too ‘personally taking charge’ is the starting point: managers are given plenty of room to make their own contribution and choose their own direction.
In accordance with the agreements made earlier between the employer, trade unions and the Works Council, we implemented a collective labour agreement pay rise of 0.2% in 2017, which is equal to the CPI for the period August 2015 - August 2016. As of 2017, the collective and individual targets have been abolished, as we wish to stimulate our employees in a different way. Our employees have been compensated in part for the abolition of the collective targets. A phase-out scheme applies for the employees with individual targets. The system of variable remuneration is used for the Executive Board, in keeping with the remuneration structure for Executive Boards of state-owned companies.
Health and well-being
We aim for the lowest possible level of absence due to sickness. In 2017, absence due to sickness at Gasunie in the Netherlands was 4.14% (2016: 3.97%). In Germany, the sickness absence rate in 2017 was 4.36% (2016: 4.15%). We try to shorten the duration of absence by offering reintegration opportunities. The national average for the Netherlands in 2016 was 3.9%. The figure for 2017 was not yet known on the date of publication of this annual report.
We offer employees aged forty and older an opportunity to undergo a periodical medical examination once every four years.
|Absence due to sickness (total)||Percentage||3.97||4.15||4.14||4.36|
|- short-term absence||Percentage||0.80||1.36||0.77||1.42|
|- medium-term absence||Percentage||0.70||1.02||0.60||1.33|
|- long-term absence||Percentage||2.40||1.77||2.77||1.61|
|Work-related absence (reported by employee)||Cases||27||-||23||-|
|Reported to the Netherlands Centre for Occupational Diseases (NCB)||Cases||0||-||0||-|
Equal opportunities for people with poor job prospects
In 2015, we took the first steps in implementing the Dutch Participation Act, which aims to ensure that people with poor job prospects can find jobs with regular employers. We feel that we have a social responsibility and see implementation of the Participation Act as a way to step up our level of engagement. That is why we open our job vacancies up to people from the particular target group. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for placing people with poor job prospects in jobs. Every case is different. We do not adhere to a particular percentage of Participation Act employees, therefore, but look whether and if so, where in the organisation a candidate can best come into their own, given their individual competences.
Our company employed thirteen people from the Participation Act target group in 2017. The group includes both physically and mentally handicapped people. We also frequently consult with the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), the municipality and other companies in the region to share knowledge, come up with ideas and simplify implementation of the law. We join initiatives to allow more people to participate in society. We offer work experience placements and internships.
Code of Conduct
Our Code of Conduct describes what we expect of our employees in terms of acting with integrity. It includes rules for treating colleagues with respect, ethical issues, bribery and corruption, the use of alcohol and drugs, dealing with commercially sensitive information, the use of social media and making telephone calls while driving. Violations of the Code reported in 2017 were addressed, and appropriate measures were taken by the management. In 2017, we found zero incidents of bribery or corruption.
In 2017, there were two reports of ‘suspected misconduct’ by our employees. We investigated these reports and took measures where necessary. We have trained four of our colleagues as confidential counsellors. Our employees can report to them, anonymously and in confidence, any suspicions of misconduct, such as corruption, fraud, bullying or intimidation. In a non-committal conversation, the counsellor discusses with the employee involved whether any action is desired, and if so, what kind of action.