70 shop stewards from IndustriALL Indonesian affiliate FSP ISI at one of the biggest cement plants in the world, Citeureup, met for a training organized by IndustriALL Global Union on 1 March.
The shop stewards shared information about challenges faced at the factory owned by Indocement, a subsidiary of German company HeidelbergCement.
At the meeting activists expressed their commitment to continue building social dialogue at the factory and advancing workers’ rights, but also to participate in social dialogue globally.
Establishing a good social dialogue is a long-lasting and continuous process. Just a few years ago, there was a serious labour conflict at the Citeureup plant. Together with the union, IndustriALL lodged an OECD complaint in May 2013 in order to stop the anti-union activities by the management. Thanks to a commitment from both the union and the management, the conflict was solved within the framework of OECD mediation.
Although main concerns were addressed an agreement was reached, some issues remain unsolved. The union office is placed outside the plant, which is an obstacle for direct communication with the factory workers. Another open question is the impossibility of organizing white-collar employees at the plant.
Local trade unionists and the FSP ISI General Secretary Widjajadi support the idea of creation of a global union network and a Global Framework Agreement (GFA) between IndustriALL and HeidelbergCement.
Matthias Hartwich, director of materials and mechanical engineering, comments:
“A discussion with dedicated union activists is always inspiring and a source of energy and encouragement. We understand that conflicts may occur at any moment, even in a plant with a functioning social dialogue and not all can be solved locally. We fully support your call for a GFA to be able to solve these issues.”
“But we are also happy to see that since 2013 the situation at the plant has improved. We think the different partners in the social dialogue, shop stewards and local management, as well as global unions and corporate managements, have specific roles to play. We see social dialogue as part of a solution, and not as part of the problem.”