General Electric sign on GE Administration Building, Schenectady, New York. Photo by Chuck Miller / Flickr

General Electric sign on GE Administration Building, Schenectady, New York. Photo by Chuck Miller / Flickr

Europe: Unions raise their voice against General Electric through an action day on 8 April

11.03.2016

Trade unions representing workers at General Electric (GE) in Europe have called a day of action on 8 April to oppose the company’s restructuring plan.

GE became a major player in the European energy industry after its takeover of Alstom Power in November 2015, and the company’s presence in Europe is now as significant as its presence in the US. Just three months after closing the deal, GE intends to save €3 billion by cutting 6,500 jobs across Europe.
 
The trade union coordinating group on GE of IndustriAll European Trade Union is mobilizing for a day of action to take place simultaneously at the company headquarters in Paris, and at company sites all over Europe.
 
Unions are calling for GE management to halt the restructuring plan and instead, to adopt a coherent and sustainable industrial strategy to ensure the future of jobs and of Europe’s energy sector.
 
The mobilization is the next stage of a series of actions which have already taken place in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
 
In addition to the job cuts, GE workers are confronted with a management team which refuses to disclose its business strategy, especially in terms of investment, innovation, funding, the launch of new technology projects as well as new production and research capacities which are necessary to meet the growing need for renewable energy.
 
The unions demand that GE management:

  • Suspend the job cuts and the restructuring plan
  • Come up with a genuine industrial project
  • Comply with its national and European obligations to inform and consult workers
  • Take into account the alternatives proposed by worker representatives

 
GE’s profits have fallen in the oil and gas sector, and the company is aggressively cutting costs across its operations. It intends to use software to automate energy delivery as it becomes what it calls a “digital industrial company”.
 
In addition to the US, in the wake of the Alstom takeover, GE is consolidating its position around the world, including in India, and across Africa. The company is also exploring investment in oil and gas in Iran.
 
The European unions are calling for solidarity action from GE workers in other countries, with the objective of building an international response to the company.
 
“IndustriALL Global Union is supporting our European affiliates on this action day against GE” said Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. “General Electric must listen to this important voice, receive the message and do what is necessary.”
 
If you are participating in the day of action, please use the hashtag #EUActionDay_GE.