In preparation of the imminent merger of the two global cement giants Holcim and Lafarge, IndustriALL affiliated cement unions under the Philippine Cement Workers Council (PCWC) met last week to discuss strategic action.
In a meeting held on 4 December at Bulacan, trade unionists from cement plants exchanged views on the impact the Holcim and Lafarge merger will have on workers, as well as the impending Lafarge divestment of its assets in the Philippines.
As the merger will be a fact by 2015, trade union leaders decided to organize a national cement conference in February. It follows the strategic action plan to ensure that cement workers will be at the top agenda in the global corporate reorganization.
“The Philippines will be mostly affected by this merger and Lafarge divestments and we want to make sure that there will be no displacement of workers in this process. We demand that our voice will be heard and our rights be respected,” said Macario B. Noble, Jr., Chair of PCWC.
At the Holcim-Lafarge global trade union conference in Houffalize, Belgium on 25-26 November, Noble emphasized appropriate measures that includes building network, capacity-building and respect and implementation of global agreement to ensure job security and existing collective bargaining agreement at the local level.
To ensure workers’ participation in the merger process and beyond, a global trade union council has been founded together with fellow global trade union federations Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW).
IndustriALL Director for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries Matthias Hartwich says:
It is imperative that management at Holcim and Lafarge involve the unions in discussions on the possible consequences for labour rights and working conditions now. It is unacceptable that management promises to talk to workers and their unions only after the decisions are made.