IndustriALL Global Union and sister organization Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) attended the annual shareholders meeting of LafargeHolcim on 3 May 2017, demanding tangible progress in negotiations of the Global Framework Agreement (GFA).
Some 40 activists from Italy, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France, as well as IndustriALL and BWI officials gathered in front of the entrance to the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland to meet LafargeHolcim shareholders and make them aware of the on-going negotiations of the GFA, pledging their support. While distributing flyers to the attendees of the meeting, union representatives also explained why they were there.
2016 was a dark year with respect of health and safety for the world leading cement manufacturer: 86 workers lost their lives while at job for the company, as direct employees, subcontractors or contractors. These appalling figures require a better cooperation between the company and the unions, not only in health and safety, but also in order to improve the overall situation for the employees.
Global unions insist that the situation can and must be improved through creation of a special platform of interaction between workers, their representatives and the company management. Global Framework Agreements (GFA) and a Global Dialogue Forum often prove perfectly fit for this.
Currently, LafargeHolcim corporate management is in the process of negotiations of a GFA with IndustriALL and BWI, however the progress is not fast enough. The trade unions were particularly happy to hear that at the annual shareholders meeting the company CEO pledged to finalize and sign the GFA before his departure in July 2017.
Besides the health and safety issues the cornerstone of the on-going negotiations for both IndustriALL and BWI remains the issue of the Global Dialogue Forum or World Works’ Council in analogy of the recently signed agreement on European Works Council. Some other issues also remain pending.
Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director for materials Industries comments,
We are glad that LafargeHolcim is taking our demands seriously and is prepared to negotiate. We rely on the company CEO's promise. We expect the process will be successfully finalized pretty soon and we will have a concrete platform for daily dialogue between workers and company management at all levels.”