Relations and dialogue

Important decisions for the organization and its employees are made in collaboration with the trade unions. Relations with labor unions are important in all the countries in which the Group operates and also have an impact on consumers.

The relationship between employees and the organization is a critical issue, because it relates to the balance of needs, including workers’ rights, negotiation systems, communication methods and engagement. In recognition of the importance of these issues, Autogrill Group has established a fruitful dialogue with the trade unions in every country in which it operates, in order to promote the identification of solutions that can balance the needs of individual workers with those of the organization. The Group guarantees each employee, regardless of the specific labor contract for each business sector and/or country of reference, a transparent labor contract as well as the protection of employee rights. Such transparency in the relation results in the availability of several national and/or sector-specific labor contracts, collective and/or corporate labor contracts and sometimes even individually stipulated labor contracts. All collective bargaining agreements, including local ones, are periodically subject to reviews and updates. The last revision dates back to March 2010, which related to the renewal of the Autogrill S.p.A. platform of the national contract for the tourist industry until April 2013.

The availability of policies, procedures and regulations provide support for a clear and transparent labor contract.
Some significant examples include Canada, with the Provincial employment standards act, defined by the Canadian Government; Great Britain, where the Works Council protects the rights of those employees not covered by a collective labor contract, and the United States, through the establishment of the Arbitration Committee, composed of union representatives, top management and HR representatives, or of some Asian countries, in which the lack of laws or trade unions responsible for the protection of workers’ rights means that local management must fill the void, by managing their personnel according to policies and guidelines designed and implemented by the parent company.

In recent years an important trend has emerged: human resources may be sustainably managed only by sharing objectives and criticalities through an ongoing dialogue between top management and union representatives. Throughout Europe, the Group has developed clear working criteria through the European Corporate Committee (ECC), an information and consultation tool used by the Company and employee representatives to evaluate the Company’s performance and perspectives.
Information and consultation represent the ECC pillars and they have been progressively supplemented and enriched.
The Autogrill approach to human capital is increasingly oriented towards a model based on periodic training meetings, which ensure recurring contact, facilitated through the implementation of web collaboration tools, dissemination and sharing of the Group’s Organizational Model, key projects currently in progress and an increasing propensity towards direct contact with people. Moreover, a new portal was launched in 2010: A–EWC, Autogrill European Works Council, which is the result of one of the first collaboration areas activated in Autogrill Intranet, where Autogrill representatives and European employee delegates share operating documentation, project work-inprogress reports and meeting schedules. This tool makes available a steady and reliable flow of information about Group events, with prompt updating, while concurrently providing a forum for contributions outside the officially scheduled meetings. Integration and engagement are the lynchpins of ECC operations. On the occasion of the yearly general meeting, employee delegates were able to view and discuss several strategic presentations, including the Feel-Good project, included in the specific AConnect program, and the relevant impact in terms of increasing employee engagement in the company’s life. Already activated activities are continued with the objective of sharing local best practices in Europe in relation to the issues that the ECC designated as priorities – health and safety, worklife balance, inter and intercompany mobility, quality and ergonomics in the workplace. It is worth underscoring that the ECC action area was further extended following to the agreements stipulated in Retail during 2010 and enforceable starting from 2011. As a result, all the colleagues operating in EU member countries will be represented in this body through their delegates.
The area includes 13 countries with approximately 26,600 workers, 10 languages and a single agreement, that specifically makes reference to the issue of “progress of Corporate Social Responsibility programs” as a priority institutional consulting and information point.

It should be noted that based on the agreements reached at the Group level, should any significant organizational change occur that necessitates employee transfer, employees shall be informed at least four weeks in advance.

In the main countries in which the Group operates, a limited number of employee legal suits have been filed. In 2010, Autogrill Italia had 98 litigations (8% less than in 2009) on a total of 12,489 employees. These lawsuits were mostly in reference to dismissals for just cause or the denial of extensions for fixed terms contracts whose term had expired.


The first official meeting between some Autogrill Italia directors and the representatives of the major unions was held in Florence in the month of July. At this meeting, the 2009 Sustainability Report was presented. The discussion focused on specific issues regarding the development of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), safety in the  workplace and SA8000 certification.
Union representatives expressed interest in the topic and in the approach adopted by Autogrill, also confirmed by the numerous questions put to Silvio de Girolamo (Corporate Head of IA&CSR) and Nicola Caramaschi (Head of QSA Italy) during the presentation. These questions were intended to further promote improvement within the Company through a proactive dialogue with the unions.


This is when employee engagement, objective sharing and tool integration are combined into one single communications instrument.

Autogrill Group’s key internal communications tool is the Aconnect Intranet portal, a project developed on an open source platform, which permitted the achievement  of two substantial goals: cost reduction, on one hand,and the development of skills within the company on the other. Aconnect is the result of the work of an international team composed of employees belonging to different Group units and represents an essential link in the integration process of new activity sectors,  reducing the distance between countries, businesses,functions, headquarters and the network; supporting collaboration between people; fostering the Group identity; disseminating values, expected behaviors and organizational aspirations in full observance of local differences.

The decision made regarding the use of a platform that  could be managed from within the Company allowed for more effective publication activities, improved process  efficiency and better flexibility of the tool itself, so muchso that Aconnect has become an essential communication driver, facilitating sharing, collaboration and dialogue between the company and its employees. In 2010 different activities were launched to develop web 2.0-based professional communities and the first pilot communities were tested for knowledge sharing (ECC Committee, Group Marketing) and the parallel commitment on infrastructures also enabled access to the portal and its services from noncorporate web and PCs (home PCs, hotels, etc.). In addition to web 2.0-based paths, more traditional communications models are also used, including periodic newsletters, another supplementary tool to involve employees and, in some cases, consumers. In fact, these are subject to integration processes with multi-dimension internal plans, as in the case of WDF, which envisaged an integrated internal communications plan, defined “Talk” – employing several tools (intranet, newsletter, surveys, TV).

Other initiatives fall within the category of the communications tools that Autogrill Group implements to involve employees, including management roadshows for the sales network, which were conceived in order to facilitate the exchange of opinions, confrontation and collection of questions and contributions, as in the case of Italy, and periodic surveys from which action plans were later developed to implement improvements, as in the case of Spain and England. In Spain, an online tool is being developed to perform climate surveys with the sales network. The first pilot projects are expected to be activated in the first months of 2011. WDF has instead implemented Talk Back, a consolidated system for measuring employee satisfaction, the results of which are processed by a third party company and later disseminated to all employees.
The survey, conducted in 2010, in which a majority of the employees participated, revealed that 85% of respondents considered their engagement towards the company positively (Employee Engagement Index–EEI).


What are employee compensation systems, what are the compensation policies, what are the values to incentivize and reward employee engagement and attract excellent resources?

In the framework of the initiatives of development and improvement of Autogrill Corporate Governance, the Board of Directors established a Human Resources Committee with the task of formulating proposals to the Board in relation to the compensation due to the CEO and the Directors. In line with the recommendations established in the Company’s Code of Ethics, the Human Resources Committee is composed of non-executive Directors and, in addition to evaluating proposals from the CEO and management in relation to policies regarding the strategic development of Human Resources, it is responsible for aligning employee compensation and value creation. The Group policy in the matter of compensation is based on a system of incentives that recognizes employee engagement and merits, by favoring a sense of belonging and attracting excellent resources from the outside. One of the key pillars within this system is the “weight” certification for the positions, which is provided cross-sectionally within the Group (i.e. an evaluation based on a standard scale of a role’s impact on the organization), which is constantly aligned to the labor market benchmarks associated with the positions covered.

Also in relation to benefits, the Group is committed to providing transparency and clarity for all of its employees.
Distribution mechanisms have not been significantly changed based on the relevant labor contract (fixed term against unlimited term), but vary according to the different geographical areas based on the relevant applicable regulations, which include or exclude specific measures and/or welfare and insurance coverage (health, accident insurance, maternity or paternity leave, disability) and local labor market practices. Pension funds and corporate supplementary insurance policies are an example. The local legislation in some countries promotes their use, allowing for an effective use of the tax leverage. In this respect, HMSHost published the salary structure on the company’s intranet, giving employees an opportunity to understand the logic according to which their salary packages are calculated.
To corroborate the attention devoted to the provision of transparent benefits, Autogrill Group has launched a Spanish language communication campaign in the US, in order to enable Spanish-speaking employees to fully understand their situation and the relevant advantages.


A sustainable answer

Sustainability results and objectives

Objectives declared for 2010
In 2010 additional activities supporting services will be integrated; in addition the newsletter on CSR issues will be supplemented in a dedicated section within the portal and will entirely focus on sustainability

Projects and results
Service integration to support corporate welfare
Development of Afuture, a section dedicated to sustainability within the Aconnect intranet portal. Moreover, the “Go Green” column makes an article with information and advice concerning sustainable daily routines available to all Autogrill Italia and WDF employees on a weekly basis

Targets for 2011
To continue implementing corporate welfare support activities
To continue the updating of the Afuture section and the Go Green column on the intranet network