Improving our social performance
The prerogatives of the head EPIC Company
The French law of 4 August 2014 created a GPF Public Railway Group.
Following the adoption of this law, a decree was published on 10 February 2015, in relation to its missions and by-laws. This decree stipulates that the Head EPIC (state-owned industrial and commercial establishment), called SNCF, carries out a part of the missions “related to the unity and social cohesion of the GPF Public Railway Group”. In this respect, the SNCF EPIC “defines and leads the changes in the social pact of the GPF Public Railway Group”, based on the following prerogatives:
- Manages labour relations, especially in terms of social negotiations and leading employee representation meetings/bodies at a Group level. Chief among these meetings is the GPF Central Works Council.
- Develops career paths and mobility within the GPF Public Railway Group based on an approach of unity and equity.
- Defines the training policy for salaried employees.
These different responsibilities are managed by the Human Resources division in the Head EPIC.
The decree also stipulates that the SNCF is responsible for performing several functions for the entire Group:
- Administrative management
- Payroll management
- Monitoring and managing social coverage, social benefits and social actions.
- Managing professional agreements and internal mobility within the Group for cross-company professions
- Implementing the housing policy for employees
A large number of these responsibilities are delegated to the relevant departments in the Service Centres Division of the Head EPIC. The Human Resources (HR) teams in this division functionally report to the Group level HR Division.
Increase in workforce in 2015
In 2015 SNCF Réseau recruited more than 2,200 new employees. This high level of recruitment during difficult economic times helped to support the increasing number of railway works, especially in the Ile-de-France area as well as the high turnover in the workforce due to the baby boomer generation change.
Among the Professions in SNCF Réseau, the breakdown is as follows (in constant terms and excluding internal transfers):
- Maintenance and Works – stable number of employees in a situation of increasing regeneration and network modernisation works. Available personnel at the end of December 2015 numbered 25,757.
- Engineering and Projects – slight increase in the workforce to 3,495 (available personnel at the end of December 2015).
- The number of employees in the Railway Traffic Management division remained stable. Available personnel at the end of December 2015 numbered 9,766.
- Network Access had 513 available employees at the end of December 2015.
- In the Ile-de-France region there has been a significant increase in the number of employees in order to support network renewal and performance works in a dense area. Available personnel at the end of December 2015 numbered 11,881.
SNCF Réseau workforce and company organisation:
- 54,000 employees, including 2,200 new recruits in 2015
- Employees work for 4 main activities:
- Maintenance & Works
- Engineering & Projects
- Traffic Management
- Network Access
- Organised into:
- 11 Regional Divisions
- 1 Senior Management Division in Ile-de-France
- 72 local centres
Supporting employees and the development of professional skills
Ensuring mobility within the company
According to the Law of 4 August 2014, employees of SNCF, SNCF Réseau and SNCF Mobilités may hold “any open job in any EPIC which is part of the GPF Public Railway Group, based on the continuity of their employment contract or in their subsidiaries”. This implies “no discrimination related to their employment status or their professional origin”.
In 2014 the companies belonging to GPF signed a “Group Mobility” Charter in order to promote transfers between the different companies and career advancement.
The professional areas within SNCF Réseau offer a wide range of different and attractive career paths for all Group employees. More than 300 employees from the two other state-owned EPIC (SNCF and SNCF Mobilités) have joined SNCF Réseau.
Starting in 2016, SNCF Réseau will implement certification-based training programs which will train employees to hold positions in strategic fields. This will be done as part of an overall effort to re-train employees from SNCF Mobilités and the Head EPIC (SNCF) who are interested by the wide range of professions available within SNCF Réseau.
Implementing an ambitious training policy
Professional training is a major component of the development strategy of SNCF Réseau. Nearly 6% of salary expenses are dedicated to training every year.
SNCF Réseau has developed new educational approaches in order to increase its capacity to absorb new employees:
- Mobilising resources to organise training programmes within the infrastructure dedicated to training
- Supporting the increasing skill level of young company employees
- Renewing the range of available training programmes
- Developing acquired skills in the various career paths
As a result of the new challenges it faces, such as the increasing number of railway works and the specific requirements of the Ile-de-France region, SNCF Réseau needs its employees to be operational.
Given the significant renewal of its workforce, the French railway operator is seeking to control its costs, while also aiming to increase efficiency.
The modernisation of its training programmes (e.g. e-learning and serious games) has contributed to improving the acquisition of knowledge and job-related skills. This approach has helped the company to reach its targets in terms of service quality, punctuality, regularity and safety.
Company policy regarding sandwich courses has improved skill levels in all professional areas. These training programmes have involved a variety of educational levels, from vocational high school instruction to 2 and 3 year university degrees as well as engineering programmes (e.g. CNAM and CESI).
In order to reach its objectives, the investment dedicated to professional training was therefore maintained at a high level in 2015. Training programmes were implemented in conjunction with the requirements of the company training agreement, generational contract, diversity agreement, programmes for equal opportunity between men and women, and social diversity initiatives.
Employee profit-sharing plan
For the first time in the history of SNCF, the company and some trade unions signed an employee profit-sharing plan on 9 July 2015. Thanks to this agreement, the employees of the two EPIC companies will receive a bonus provided that the performance objectives for 2015 were reached.
The profit-sharing bonus is calculated on the basis on three criteria:
- Financial performance based on the operating margin
- Company performance based on the improvement of the availability and quality of the railway network
- Social performance based on the response rate to the Allure survey
Housing assistance policy
Many social actions have been adopted by the GPF Public Railway Group in order to meet employee expectations in terms of housing. Given the difficult housing situation, SNCF Réseau contributes to the housing expenses of newly recruited employees or provides support for the geographical mobility of its employees.
Ensuring the welfare of each employee at work
Quality of Life at Work
SNCF has initiated several actions dedicated to ensuring employee welfare at the in the work place.
- The establishment of a Feel Better at Work Programme. This plan has several parts and aims to detect high risk situations through the monitoring of indicators such as the absenteeism rate, the frequency and seriousness of workplace accidents, etc.
- The prevention of psychosocial risks and the implementation of the Annual Professional Risk Prevention Programme and Working Conditions Improvement Programme. These programs allow managers to set up any needed action plans to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
- The creation of the Allure survey which is based on employee feedback. This internal study gives managers and HR professionals the opportunity to better understand the perception and feelings of employees through their level of satisfaction. This is based on 4 dimensions of managerial and social performance: work (involvement and quality of life at work), management, skill levels and trust.
Adapting working time to employee needs
End of career
To ease the transition between working life and retirement, employees at the end their careers are offered the possibility of adjusting their working hours through the CPA progressive retirement plan, which can be fixed or variable. This plan can cover a 1 to 3 year period during which the employee works 50 to 80% of the full schedule. In addition, provisions are made for employees having exercised a heavy labour position for at least 12 years. It is also possible to have an end of career transition which represents 91.4% of a full-time position.
Moreover, a special reserve in the CET time savings plan enables employees to save up to two hundred fifty days throughout their career to retire earlier.
A skills patronage programme is open to all and allows soon-to-retire employees to prepare an active retirement by taking part in volunteer work in the SNCF Foundation, SNCF Volunteers Association and similar organisations.
Following the signing of a collective agreement related to part-time employment, SNCF Réseau employees may reduce their weekly working time. This reduction may be from 50% to 91.4% of a full-time position, thereby enabling employees to pursue a personal or work-related initiative.
As part of the Quality of Life at Work programme, employees may opt for alternating telework. In this system salaried employees alternately work at home and in the company.
Teleworking reflects a societal trend and promotes a healthy balance between work and personal life. It helps employees to reduce their stress and to be more energetic in terms of fulfilling their company’s objectives:
- In cases where employees live far away from their place of work, teleworking schemes may represent an alternative to a move or long commutes.
- Teleworking reduces the incidence of risk (accidents during home-workplace journeys and absenteeism).
- Teleworking is consistent with the values of EcoMobility.
SNCF Réseau examines the possibility of teleworking for its employees especially when a change in the place of work may lead to a significant increase in commuting time. As such the company considers all employee applications for this form of work.
Promoting equality and diversity at work with a priority for supporting access of women to all types of employment in the company
Developing social diversity
SNCF Réseau is also firmly committed to significantly improving gender parity. On 10 July 2015 an agreement was unanimously adopted to promote social diversity and professional equality between women and men in the company. This agreement was signed with three trade unions and covers a four year period (2015-2018). An action plan has been implemented to increase the percentage of women employees, which still remains far too low.
There are four priority actions:
- Increasing feminisation in the company
- Ensuring fair rules for all career paths
- Fighting all forms of sexism
- Promoting the balance between work and personal life
On 31 December 2015 the percentage of women employees at SNCF Réseau was 12.9%, an increase compared to 2014 (12.2%). In 2015, 312 women employees were recruited. This represented 13.8% of all recruitments and a significant increase over 2014 (298 or 11.2%). The percentage of women continues to rise even though most recruitment efforts are dedicated to technical fields in which there are few women candidates.
SNCF was awarded the AFNOR Equal Opportunity Employer certification in 2014 (for three years) and it supports the “SNCF au Féminin” – a network of female and male managers and supervisors. This network operates outside of the company structure and is an active community which promotes change within SNCF.
Promoting employment of the disabled
The GPF Public Railway Group signed the 7th Company Agreement for 2015-2017 in favour of the Employment of Disabled Workers. The estimated budget for this agreement is €12,000K over the three year period.
This agreement is expected to produce the following results:
- Recruitment of 300 disabled persons
- Over the three year period (2015-2017), the recruitment of 300 interns
- Recruitment of 175 sandwich course students, including 100 from all types of degree programmes and 75 from the new HANTRAIN scheme.
The implementation of the Disabled Employment department (Mission Handicap) in SNCF Réseau on 1 July 2015 is a result of the company’s responsibilities as an employer. This action has created new expectations. In particular, there has been a strong focus on maintaining employment, purchasing from special disabled workshops and recruitment.
On 5 November 2015, SNCF was awarded a Diversity Trophy in the “diversity management” category as a result of the kit it created for its managers on raising awareness about this issue.
Labour relations in GPF
Since 10 March 2015 negotiations have been ongoing between the management and GPF representative trade unions. These negotiations are focused on defining a common contractual framework in compliance with the Law of 4 August 2014. The purpose of this law is to uphold the freedom of association and the right to collective negotiation as stipulated in international and European standards, such as the agreements of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The founding principles of these agreements are the harmonisation and equity for all company staff. They guarantee social unity within the GPF group for all SNCF employees, whether they are salaried or contractors.
At present 22 agreements have been signed, including 9 unanimously. 14 of these agreements strongly reflect the company’s social commitment. Among other areas, they deal with social unity, social diversity, gender parity, part-time employment, disabled workers, the time savings plan, housing and profit-sharing.