The very first handbook on Employment Law in the Energy Sector
The energy industry at present experiences turbulent times. Not only has the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) de facto abolished the originally by far most frequent unbundling solution. Above all, the so called “energy turnaround” (Energiewende) pursued with emphasis by the state has placed the business model of major power station operators massively under pressure. Furthermore, many public sector energy companies (Stadtwerke) hardly earn any money with power generation at present. Their debts will – according to studies of reputable auditors – become critical.
The remedy – with regard to network business – is increasingly sought at municipal level in growth by “recommunalisation” of networks (frequently in joint network companies). Energy generators see their future markets – apart from energy consultancy and supplementary services (including plant construction) – in particular in expansion of generation of renewable energies – including and above all offshore. The new version of the EEG – torpedoed, however, by the European Commission and attacked nationally as unconstitutional – apparently produces renewed confidence and security at least to investors which will encourage the expansion of network connections.
All these events also bring with them considerable close and distant employment law effects. Network operators are often affected by restructuring processes which must be implemented according to employment law, not only observing unbundling provisions. Original employment law provisions – for example the Employees Leasing Act – also are changing and make the continuation of existing structures more difficult. That must be planned in the course of restructuring procedures – including at the level of co-determination.
Having regard to reducing sources of income – in particular at municipal level – the use of room for arrangements provided by the “Collective Bargaining Agreement for Utility Companies” (Tarifvertrag Versorgungsbetriebe – TV-V) is more important. The TV-V explicitly promotes an increase in competitiveness between utility companies and can now prove in practice whether it keeps its word.
In the test phase, there is ultimately also a working time regime recently introduced for “offshore” working. The legislator increasingly apparently discovers that in the exclusive economic zone (Ausschließliche Wirtschaftszone) there are gaps in regulation which may have to be filled.
Which room for arrangements remains from an employment law perspective for companies within all these fields is shown by Dr Patrick Mückl in the handbook “Das Arbeitsrecht der Energiewirtschaft” (ISBN-13: 978-3110334487) just published, in which not only are the current questions of special employment law of the energy industry dealt with but practical solutions of all the issues below are developed.