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International Siemens meeting intensifies trade union cooperation

1 December, 2009Worker representatives from Siemens' operations in Europe, the U.S., Brazil, India and China meet and strengthen worldwide union cooperation within the company.

GERMANY: On November 24 and 25 the fourth International Siemens Meeting, organised by IMF, IG Metall and the Central Works' Council of Siemens took place in Munich. For the first time this meeting took place on company premises (Siemens location in Munich-Neuperlach), the company took over costs and was represented by Professor Dr. Russwurm, who is a member of the management board.

The representation of workers in Europe was based on the new cluster organisation of Siemens. From outside Europe, workers' representatives from the U.S., Brazil, India and China participated.

Prof. Dr. Russwurm informed participants of the global strategy of the company as an integrated technology company with business activities in 190 countries. Based on forecasted trends such as demographic change, urbanization, climate change and global economic growth, Siemens focuses its activities on three sectors: Industry, Energy and Health Care. Siemens IT Solutions and Services and Siemens Financial Services serve as cross sector activities.

With a workforce of 427,000, Siemens had a turnover of 77.3 billion Euros in 2008.  Fifty-five per cent of the revenues are in Europe, the CIS countries and Africa, 26 per cent in the Americas and 21 per cent in Asia. Sixty-nine per cent of the workforce is employed abroad.

The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are generating the highest growth within the company. Therefore these countries play an important role within the strategies of Siemens for the next decade.

The participants also discussed the structures and strategies of existing bodies of workers' representation, like the Central Works' Council in Germany and the SEC (Siemens Europe Committee) and pointed out the necessity for a worldwide structure of union cooperation within this global company. Also the possibility of an International Framework Agreement was raised, a question which received a positive signal from the management representative.

The stepping up of efforts to intensify the cooperation between plant / company-based workers' representatives and existing unions in different regions and countries and the installation of a functioning information network, as well as the necessity of unionizing projects (the degree of unionization - especially outside Europe - is not very high) were other items on the agenda of the meeting.