On 19 January IndustriALL Global Union and its Indian affiliate Pragatisheel Cement Sharamik Sangh’s (PCSS) met with management of ACC Jamul Cement Works, owned by world leading cement producer LafargeHolcim. After the meeting the PCSS activists organized an impressive rally of cement workers followed by a public meeting near the plant.
The visit to the plant was organized on the invitation of PCSS union on 19 January 2017 on the occasion of the IndustriALL India cement unions meeting in Nagpur. IndustriALL representatives including Matthias Hartwich, director for materials industries and Apoorva Kaiwar, South Asia regional secretary, who visited the ACC Jamul Cement Works plant and met local management.
For more than a year, mature dialogue has been developing at the enterprise. The collective efforts of IndustriALL and PCSS, coordinated international work as well as use of international mechanisms including an OECD complaint in Switzerland helped to win recognition of significant rights for precarious workers at ACC Jamul Cement Works.
During the meeting the corporate representatives acknowledged the “mature and constructive approach of PCSS and IndustriALL”, which in combination with an open and advanced approach from management side contributed towards establishing fruitful industrial relations at the Jamul plant. The result of this was an unprecedented agreement signed in January 2016, which will go a long way in protecting precarious workers’ rights, not only in the Jamul plant, but could also be replicated in cement plants across India. Corporate management stated that this is a milestone and even a showcase for future labour relations with contract workers.
During the public meeting in front of the plant, PCSS union activists expressed thanks to IndustriALL’s efforts and solidarity support in defending precarious workers’ rights.
Matthias Hartwich said, “Congratulations to PCSS for unrelenting successful struggle. The determined action of PCSS and solidarity support of IndustriALL is a classic example of combined efforts of local and international unions to win workers’ rights. The precarious workers’ victory in Jamul will go a long way in inspiring LafargeHolcim workers across the world and will contribute positively to improve social dialogue with LafargeHolcim globally.”
Apoorva Kaiwar echoed this view, saying, “Workers’ united shall always be victorious. PCSS’s victory at the Jamul plant is an inspiration for precarious workers across the region. IndustriALL will continue to extend solidarity to defend precarious workers’ rights.”
PCSS’s organizing secretary Lakhan Sahu and legal advisor Sudha Bharadwaj underlined the brave struggle of workers fighting for their rights and said, “The unwavering support of IndustriALL to exert pressure on LafargeHolcim at the international level immensely helped in bringing management to the negotiating table. We will continue our efforts towards constructive social dialogue to protect workers’ rights. PCSS will also focus on young workers in order to improve their working conditions now and in the future.”