On 12 July 2017, LafargeHolcim and global unions, IndustriALL and BWI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Zurich, as final step towards a Global Framework Agreement (GFA). The MoU is a prelude to the GFA, reaffirming the commitment to a comprehensive agreement, to be signed later this year.
The three parties agreed earlier this year to begin discussing, negotiating and concluding a GFA in 2017. The agreement confirms that the workers are core to the success of LafargeHolcim, and the ambition is to create a workplace that is safe, diverse, inclusive, and respectful where people enjoy coming to work.
The objective of the GFA is to establish and conduct a constructive and responsible social dialogue between the company and the global unions.
After the merger of Lafarge and Holcim, IndustriALL Global Union and BWI formed a World Union Committee (WUC) with the involvement of unions at LafargeHolcim workplaces worldwide. Through a democratic decision of the WUC, a successful and efficient campaign was conducted where one of the demands was identified to reach a GFA.
In the meantime, LafargeHolcim signed a new agreement in March 2017, creating a European Works Council (EWC). The objective of a GFA was reiterated and supported at the Annual Shareholders Meeting of LafargeHolcim in May 2017.
During the negotiation process, a series of consultations with the relevant affiliates were made and a number of comments and suggestions were received and inserted. This includes main ILO conventions, neutrality, a scope covering all operations of the company, access to workplace, LafargeHolcim Annual Conference (LHAC) as a platform of dialogue at global level, procuedure for dispute resolution.
At the signing of the MoU in Zurich, LafargeHolcim was represented by Eric Olsen, CEO, and Caroline Luscombe, Head of OHR, Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan represented IndustriALL, and General Secretary Ambet Yuson BWI.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary, said on the MoU:
"A Global Framework Agreement between LafargeHolcim and IndustriALL/BWI is now a benchmark in the materials industries, and will have an impact on improving working and living conditions of our members.
“It is also a strong signal to other multinationals in the sector to engage with their most important stakeholders and their workforce. Our job is now to make sure that this GFA is successful with proper implementation and monitoring."
According to the MoU, in the period to come, within the framework of the GFA provisions on health and safety which identify fundamental rights, IndustriALL Global Union and BWI will develop a detailed Global Health and Safety Agreement with LafargeHolcim.
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said:
"Health and safety at work is a priority for trade unions and a critical area covered in this agreement. This year we will develop a global health and safety agreement with LafargeHolcim, and the company has agreed to set up a H&S working group. We look forward to working with LafargeHolcim and our affiliates around the world to implement these standards, and we thank the negotiating team who worked very patiently to make this agreement come to fruition.”
Caroline Luscombe, Head of Organization and Human Resources at LafargeHolcim said:
“We are positively progressing to build a scheme of relations for LafargeHolcim based on mutual trust. This agreement contains important elements for our social approach and will surely be a pillar of the social dialogue we aspire to develop."
LafargeHolcim was established as a result of the merger of equals by Lafarge and Holcim in 2015 as the largest Group in the building materials industry, particularly in cement and concrete production. The Swiss-based Group employs more than 90.000 direct workers with operations in around 80 countries.
Also present at the signing were the members of the negotiation team Feliciano Gonzalez, Head of Group Labor Relations and Social Policies at LafargeHolcim, Vincent Giard, Labor Law & Social Policies Group Manager at LafargeHolcom, Fiona Murie BWi Global Director Occupational Health and Safety and Construction Industry, and Matthias Hartwich, Director for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries at IndustriALL.