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Saint-Gobain union network demands genuine dialogue

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1 November, 2019Meeting in Paris, France, around 30 union leaders representing Saint-Gobain workers in nine countries worldwide, strongly expressed their desire for genuine dialogue with the company about the deep transformation called “Transform and Grow” which was launched November 2018.

Hosted by IndustriALL Global Union’s French affiliate FO-Métaux at its premises, the fourth meeting of the global union network extensively debated the transformation programme. Transform and Grow is based on two pillars: acceleration of products and solutions portfolio management, and market-oriented reorganization through simplification and digitalization at every level of the group operations.

The global union network members expressed their concerns and dissatisfaction over the lack of information and consultation on the programme and its implementation with unions at different levels, factory, national and global. The reports showed that the company has not fully consulted with unions about the consequences of the implementation of the programme, let alone debating the programme itself. Unions consider the risks for workers, their conditions and rights to be substantial.

Participants also discussed the application of digitalization and its impact on workers of the company. It was decided to deepen the work started a few years earlier and to continue collecting data about the impact via an online questionnaire.

The meeting welcomed a representative from Saint-Gobain global management, Mr Jean-Philippe Lacharme, who reported on the current situation in the company and answered questions from the participants. The participants demanded better dialogue on the basis of information, consultation and fundamental rights, particularly at international level around the cross-border challenges.

Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL, said at the meeting:

“We appreciate the perspective given by management on the current transformation process inside the company. However, we are concerned about the absence of a proper consultation with workers and their unions during this process.

“We urge and invite Saint-Gobain to make a further step and start a proper dialogue to reinforce genuine dialogue with IndustriALL and affiliated trade unions in order to improve working conditions of workers in the company’s own operations and supply chain.”

Saint-Gobain is a group of French origin covering a vast variety of activities in construction materials and services, insulation, glass and other materials used in buildings, transportation, infrastructure and in many industrial applications. The group currently employs more than 180,000 people in 67 counties, additionally generating over 549,000 indirect and 190,000 induced jobs.