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Holcim-Lafarge: No merger without workers' rights!
During the first semester of 2015 the merger of Holcim and Lafarge must be arranged. With 130.000 workers and a turnover of € 35 billion, the new company will be by far the biggest cement company throughout the world.
The merger will have a considerable impact on jobs and working conditions. By means of the merger both companies want to cut costs and reorganize their activities. In the future Holcim-Lafarge will be particularly active in Asia; in the years to come more than 40% of the workers will be employed in Asia. This reorganization will involve considerable social and ecological challenges.
On November 25 and 26, CSC bâtiment – industrie & énergie (CSC BIE), the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and IndustriALL Global Union held their first international trade union conference for the future new company Holcim-Lafarge.
During this conference, 75 trade unionists working for Holcim and Lafarge and representing 22 countries and all the continents conferred on an internationally coordinated trade union strategy. The debates were gripping and very interactive. At the end of this two day conference, the participants agreed on a joint action plan. In 2015 the European and international trade union federations and all the individual participants will commit themselves to launch an international information campaign and to undertake coordinated action. The workers of Holcim and Lafarge demand respect and recognition as a social partner during the merger process!
The trade unions and the workers consider this merger as an important test case. The trade unions want to be recognized as an interlocutor; they want real information and consultation. They want to contribute to the discussions regarding the future structure of the company and ask for a social solution for the workers of the companies that will be sold.
Pierre Cuppens (CSC BIE, vicepresident BWI) made a very clear statement: “we will not drop the workers. We promise to follow this merger process very closely. Also for the sake of the workers who are employed in companies that will be sold. The offer price is not the only important element, there must be job security and respect for the existing collective labour agreements”.
Holcim-Lafarge, being the biggest player on the market, must set a good example for others. We demand respect for decent working conditions, for both the permanent staff as the staff employed through subcontractors. The participants to the conference want to debate the issue of core activities with Holcim-Lafarge. They want restrictions on outsourcing. Today Holcim-Lafarge makes improper use of outsourcing and lets people work in very precarious conditions, at very low wages and in unsafety.
The trade unions demand good working conditions and decent wages. And also: “equal pay for equal work”. Finally, the trade unions ask the management to give clear answers when it comes to the future of the social dialogue. The future company not only needs to take over the existing international framework agreement with Lafarge, but it also must adjust it to the new situation. In order to enable a real dialogue between the workers and the employer, it is necessary to establish a world works council as soon as possible, with regional consultative bodies for each continent.
CSC BIE, the EFBWW, the BWI and IndustriALL Global Union will take the necessary steps during the next weeks in order to really start the dialogue with Holcim-Lafarge, in Europe and globally.
Related pages about:
European Works Councils