19 June, 2007Rheinmetall management refuses to meet with the International Metalworkers' Federation on the implementation of the international framework agreement.
GERMANY: On June 12-13, 2007 union representatives from Rheinmetall facilities and union officials from Austria, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland met in Neckarsulm, Germany, to discuss implementation of the Principles of Social Responsibility (International Framework Agreement) agreed between Rheinmetall, the IMF and the European Works Council. In spite of the IMF's and IG Metall's endeavours to open a dialogue in good faith with the company on IFA's implementation, management refused to support the IMF and IG Metall in organising this meeting and addressing the participants. In an article published by the German newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau, Jürgen Peters, President of the IMF and IG Metall criticized this lack of support as "a breach of the agreement concluded". He considered that management had violated democratic rules of the game and showed itself to be "contemptible". A copy of the article (in German) can be seen at this link: http://www.fr-online.de/in_und_ausland/wirtschaft/aktuell/?em_cnt=1155542& The meeting provided an opportunity for an exchange of information on the current situation at several locations of the corporation and for establishing an international network and a global communication platform for workers and unions within Rheinmetall. The Brazilian representatives reported in particular serious breaches concerning health and safety standards at the Rheinmetall plant in Nova Odessa, São Paulo and urged IMF to intervene with management. It was agreed that the IMF jointly with IG Metall and the EWC would seek to approach management again in an effort to initiate a constructive dialogue on implementation of the Agreement at the company's facilities and its supply chain throughout the world. Rheinmetall is a German-based a manufacturer of automotive components, weapons equipment and electronics. The framework agreement was signed in late 2003 and covers about 25,000 employees at more than 20 production facilities around the world. More information on the IFA can been seen here: http://www.imfmetal.org/main/index.cfm?n=47&l=2&c=8837