An employee representative’s day – Barbara Pichler

From the life of an employee representative in the Erste Group

It is almost eight o’clock, I just brought my kids to school.

At 8 a.m. sharp starts my first appointment today. A beautiful occasion, the colleague is pregnant and consulted me on maternity protection, parental leave and re-entry. After we reviewed all aspects, the colleague is well prepared now to speak with her manager. I offered her a follow-up appointment, so we can cross-check their arrangements again. For reading I gave her various information folders from the Chamber of Labour on the way. As always, I asked her to send me a photo of the new citizen of Earth, because I collect my “consulting babies”. 😉

The next appointment also has the families in focus. From 9 a.m., current topics from the MiniCampus will be discussed in the meeting of the advisory board from the kindergarten. The head of the kindergarten reports about the successful sale of home-baked muffins and the next children’s excursions. The next fire drill of the little ones and a broken door are also topics, such as the required USB sticks, for the annual photo collection for the parents. I think about how I could help. Thanks to good contacts to committed colleagues and partner companies, wonderful USB sticks will be delivered two weeks later!

The next employee consultation refers to an offer for the amicable dissolution of the employment relationship as part of the package of measures. In view of the massive cost saving requirements of the executive board, we negotiated this package with HR and concluded a works agreement. I checked the details of this offer and explained the different variants in detail based on real examples. Understandably the colleague is emotionally upset about the situation. In such a case the personal empathy is at least as important as the purely objective details. The aim of this conversation is to give the affected colleague a first orientation on all possibilities and variants. This makes it possible to discuss basic considerations and individually correct next steps in the following appointment. For the research of a possible entrance into the new industry labour foundation, I sent him the phone number and email address of our contact person on the spot and of course an invitation for a follow-up appointment.

11 a.m. – a precision landing, the next colleague is already waiting for consultation. The newly introduced job grading has caused uncertainty. The new classification is not clearly understandable for her due to the functional description. This is worrying for the employee, because further career and salary development is depending on the grading. In this particular case, I have a finding for the grading side letter, which we are currently developing. I ask my deputy Andi Lachs in, he is my expert for the grading. He now will include the derived rule in the proposal for the new works agreement.

After completion of this appointment, it is time to check my e-mails and the phone call log. An urgent appointment was requested at 2.30 p.m., an intervention concerning personal data collection. That will be close, because from 12.30 p.m. till 2.30 p.m. I’m at the labour court. With the advice for a possible delay of a few minutes I accept.

On the way to the court, I get a little snack.

1 p.m. – on site at the labour and social court, I work here as a lay judge. The trial lasts a little more than one hour, and because of renewed witness summons another hearing is scheduled in four weeks. At present a possible settlement between the parties is not foreseeable. The experiences from the court cases, which I may accompany, are valuable and at the same time train my legal understanding and practice as well. This is very useful to negotiate new works agreements or changes in existing ones, which is one of my usual tasks.

2.30 p.m. – the colleague tells me of a collection of personal data in his department. Together we research which background the survey by the employer may have respectively could have in the future, as well as rights, obligations and possible consequences. The further procedure is based on the regulations of our “frame works agreement about the protection of personal data of employees”. Next steps will be discussed and agreed with the data protection officer. Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered and I come to the end to clarify this case also in the “data protection team”.

While I’m walking to the next appointment, I return a call to a colleague. I have good news regarding his early retirement solution for him.

Now at three o’clock, together with my team of officials, we are preparing the next meeting with the chairwomen and chairmen of the works councils of all saving banks and subsidiaries of Austria. This big working group is called “AGRU-Konzern”. Presentations on all current topics and a questionnaire will be prepared for the board members and HR management. Finally we discuss some new sample works agreements for the subsidiaries.

Today’s closing appointment is the “Campus meeting” at 5 p.m. with the head of the Health Center, the OM executive management, the security officer and the head of human resources. All topics that concern the employees regarding their office and the building are discussed and decided here. Good solutions and many improvements have already been achieved in this context for the employees. For example, the Campus survey and the subsequent actions were developed within this committee. Both current inquiries and existing topics are dealt with.

After this appointment and back in my homebase I take a short time to answer some urgent e-mails. On the way home, I finally do some callbacks on the phone.

At home first there is a shared dinner with the family. Then I arrange with the children the things needed for the next day and solve tricky math examples with my daughter. They are getting more and more complicated…!

My evening-readings this time are the documents for the next meeting of the supervisory board.

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