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Sunday at the factory

Sunday at the factory

This is Italy Team


Temporary employees hired "permanently". Sunday shifts on a volunteer-basis only. The company investing more. Today, everyone seems happy, starting with the employees who approved by a whopping 80% the agreement reached between the union andSanpellegrino. And yet the negotiating process had run into troubled waters, despite the fact it involved the most famous Italian mineral water company in the world.

An established Made in Italy soft drink brand. Attractive, international, successful. «But operating in a market where planning is not always possible» explains Stefano Agostini, president and CEO of Sanpellegrino. «Mineral water, by its very nature, requires flexible production.»

And so, at the beginning of the year, the company began talking with union representatives, to whom it offered 8 million euros in investment and the hiring of 25 employees. An in-house referendum nixed the agreement, even if by just three votes (93 to 90?"eds.). «We kept communication open with the union and in March final negotiations began. Our counter-offer? We put 30 million euros on the table (20 immediately and 10 in 2012) and new hirings were upped to 33. Finally, Sunday shifts were established on a voluntary basis. But the biggest hurdle was more a cultural than an economic one. The money was there, in fact. Sunday is paid time-and-a-half plus a bonus of 50 euros per day. The turning point was, perhaps, the limit on Sunday work: 26 per year, one out of every two.»

At full swing, about 35 people will be working Sundays (60 when there will be two production lines). An agreement signed at the same time as FIAT's, but diametrically opposed. The result of a different management philosophy? "It's the result of the Sanpellegrino case history, above all. A fine-dining, connoisseur brand that internationally is synonymous with quality. This agreement is coherent with our history that started in 1900. This is the reason why the willingness we see now reassures us. Frankly, we intend organizing our production as best we can, day-by-day.»


Gabriella Piroli

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