Swisscom is making digital skills training a key tenet of a new employment deal it has signed with two trade unions.

The new collective employment agreement (CEA), agreed with syndicom and transfair, will provide all employees with five training and development days per year.

The education programmes will focus on digitisation and its effects on the workplace, the operator said, although specific areas of focus were not given.

In common with other operators, Swisscom is looking to upskill its workforce for a software-based future.

[Read more: Telecom Italia CEO calls for trade union cooperation in digital transformation push]

Swisscom had 20,704 full-time employees on 30 September 2017, down 2.8 percent compared to the previous year, of which 17,877 are based in Switzerland.

Another concession to the digital era sees the CEA introducing new principles to regulate employee privacy in the workplace and the handling of their data.

Work-life balance is also addressed, with holiday entitlement increased and guidelines introduced to govern remote working.

The CEA, which also includes increases in maternity and paternity leave, comes into force on 1 July and will last for three years.

Hans Werner, Group Head of Human Resources, Swisscom: “The job market demands a high level of flexibility and continuous development from us.

“We need to redefine ‘life-long learning’.

“This no longer consists of courses every 10 years, but regular, flexible, short or longer, web-based and traditional training courses.

“With the conclusion of this CEA, we have created the basis for this approach to life-long learning.”

Robert Métrailler, Head of Communication, transfair, added: “Swisscom employees are faced with major challenges posed by digitisation and economising projects.

“In transfair’s view, the best approach to dealing with this issue was to focus on employability.”

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