American technology and financial services giant General Electric plans to cut 6,500 jobs in Europe over the next two years, following a restructuring of the group. Trade unions are opposing the job slaying and demanding that the workers’ rights are respected in the process.
The job losses follow on GE’s recent acquisition of Alstom Energy. Trade unions in the affected countries, Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, the UK and Switzerland, firmly oppose the massive job cuts. Unions are demanding that the information and consultation rights are respected and that sustainable alternatives are taken into account.
"The acquisition has barely been completed and already General Electric (GE) is no longer keeping its promises", noted the representatives of GE (ex-Alstom) employees and other GE divisions, meeting under the umbrella of industriAll Europe in Brussels in January.
“At stake is the future of strategic industrial sectors for Europe’s energy production capacities and energy independence,” declared Luc Triangle, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll Europe. “Purely short-term financial management cannot meet the industrial challenges faced by GE in Europe. The Group’s management must keep its commitments to sustain industrial plants and skills.”
Unions will lobby European and national public authorities on the industrial and social risks associated with GE's integration plan regarding Alstom, and the will initiate mobilisation actions with GE employees at site, country and European levels in the coming weeks.
"Cutting a large number of jobs without looking for other solutions is unacceptable and not sustainable," says Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary. “Our trade union family will continue to challenge this decision."