Workers from all over Europe were outside Holcim’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Switzerland, in protest against the Europe-wide job cuts and plant closures at Holcim sites.
On 17 April at Holcim’s AGM in Dübendorf, Switzerland, over 200 employees from all over Europe (Italy, Belgium, France, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and Switzerland) held a protest to send shareholders a strong message that their CHF 1.5 billion profit target for 2014 at the expense of the workforce is unacceptable.
Katty Noël, member of IndustriALL Belgian affiliate Syndicat des Employés, Techniciens et Cadres de Belgique (SETCA), participated in the Holcim AGM with Uwe Barkmann, European Works Council (EWC) Secretary and member of IndustriALL Affiliate the Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (IG BCE). They both addressed shareholders to express their discontent with the company’s plans. “As you must have noticed on your way in, a large number of my colleagues have joined us from many countries in Europe to express our discontent and our determination to make difference,” said Katty Noël, EWC vice-secretary in her address to Holcim shareholders.
Noël and Barkmann were welcomed by Holcim Chairman Rolf Soiron, who disagreed with their views. “There will be plant closures,” said Soiron, “if the market is no longer there, we have to reduce capacity.”
Protesters urged management to at least observe the applicable laws and regulations if the company absolutely has to generate extra profit at their employees' expense.
“We have gathered here to tell management to stop insisting to gain extra profits by dismissing people and without proper information and consultation from the responsible bodies,” said Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL Director for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries, in front of Holcim’s AGM.
The EWC of Holcim and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) call on management to:
- comply with and carry out a fair information and consultation procedure in due time, as prescribed by the binding European Directive and the agreement with the EWC,
- desist from any carrying out any further redundancies before the information and consultation procedure has been completed at the European and local level, and
- improve the agreement with the European Works Council in order to meet demands.
See Katty Noël's address to Holcim AGM
See Uwe Barkmann's address to Holcim AGM