15 January, 2015On 15 January 2015 thousands of workers at Lafarge and Holcim cement plants in over 20 countries are mobilizing to send one strong message to the two largest cement companies in the world - “No merger without workers’ rights!”
These actions are the launch of a global campaign against Lafarge’s and Holcim’s behavior during the merger. The campaign is organized by Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) and IndustriALL Global Union.
Since the announcement last year of their plans about the merger, Holcim and Lafarge, headquartered accordingly in Switzerland and France have consistently refused to discuss seriously with trade unions on the impact of the merger on workers. According to the different estimations at least 15,000 workers will be jobless as a result of a major restructuring; however, the companies have not been transparent and public about the merger process, leaving workers uncertain about their future.
The main demands of the trade unions to Lafarge and Holcim are:
- Guarantee that the conditions of workers in parts of the business that are sold off be protected.
- Guarantee that all workers’ collective agreements be honored by the new merged company.
- Commit to maintain the global level social dialogue that Lafarge previously participated in with unions.
- Consult with workers and their unions in this merger process.
Many of the unions in Brazil, Greece, Netherlands, Thailand, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe are distributing flyers and talking to workers about how the merger would affect workers. Since many workers have not received proper information about the merger process these discussions are critical to alleviate the workers’ anxieties about their future. In a number of countries such as Lebanon, Brazil and France, the trade unions are conducting work stoppages at the plants. In the Philippines, Jordan, Romania, and Germany the unions are holding pickets in front of Lafarge and Holcim plants. Noting the media interest in the merger, unions in Colombia, India, and Serbia are holding press conferences.
The unions will continue to organize actions until the unions’ demands are met.
With the aim to support the on-site actions and pressure the leadership of the companies, BWI, IndustriALL and EFBWW jointly with the website LabourStart have launched an online campaign. Follow the link to send your message of protest to Holcim and Lafarge through http://www.labourstart.org/go/nomerger