In the week leading up to STMicroelectronics’ annual general meeting (AGM) on 25 May, unions in France, Italy and Malaysia are protesting against the company’s financial strategy, as workers are being laid off despite an increasing workload.
Throughout week, workers are holding alternative AGM meetings to demand that STMicroelectronics use its profits to support its employees, not shareholders. The actions take place amid a public outcry of the company’s mass firings of workers and just a few days before the AGM on May 25 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
On 23 May, Malaysian union EIEUSR called for “This year: Zero Dividends”, while French union delegation CGT-CFDT delivered a motion with the same message to the French government – a key shareholder in STMicroelectronics – asking them to present it at the AGM.
According to workers, STMicroelectronics management has promoted a business model focusing on shareholders and short-term profits. In the last decade, close to 7,000 jobs have been slashed and the company’s ranking as a microelectronics producer has plummeted.
Yet, its shareholders and CEO, Carlo Bozotti, have routinely been paid dividends and bonuses. During the same period, the company’s shareholders have received more than US$2.6 billion in dividends, while the CEO’s wage has increased by 250 per cent, to almost US$2.5 million.
This poor corporate behavior is taking place against the backdrop of a growing public awareness of CEO pay, controversial attempts to fight it, and national protests against labour law reforms.
STMicroelectronics workers are heavily protesting against austerity. The workers and their unions in France, Italy, Morocco and Malaysia have been actively collaborating against the company’s current leadership; organizing strikes in Italy, sit-ins in Morocco, and other forms of protests at jobsites in China and France. In an open letter published in April, workers insisted the company must change course and stop cutting jobs and respect union rights in all countries in which it operates.