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Daimler unions in solidarity for global union rights

24 February, 2012At the Daimler World Employee Committee (WEC) meeting in February members reported on the situation and developments in their country and expressed solidarity with UAW's efforts to establish union representation in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa.

GERMANY/GLOBAL: At the Daimler World Employee Committee (WEC) meeting on February 16 and 17, 2012, Erich Klemm, chair of the WEC, welcomed members from Germany, USA, Brazil, Japan, Spain and South Africa, and special guests, in particular from China.

According to the reports given at the meeting, 2011 has been an economically successful year for almost all Daimler companies with only few exceptions. All employees have contributed to the record result. At the same time, it became evident that the financial crisis had left extensive marks in many countries. In Japan, the main focus was on coping with the environmental and nuclear catastrophe in March 2011. The Japanese WEC member was deeply moved by the support that his country had had in a bad time from the workers, the World Employee Committee and the company. He expressed sincere thanks for the solidarity.

At a joint meeting where the World Employee Committee, the Economic Committee and the Employee Representatives of the Supervisory Board met with members of the Board of Management, the current situation and the plans for the next years were reported and discussed.

China has experienced exceptional growth for several years, where Daimler has achieved remarkable gains over the last years. China has developed into the third largest sales market for Mercedes-Benz Cars. With the dynamic market development as a backdrop, China also plays an increasing role as a production site. For this reason, the chairman of the company union from Beijing Benz Automotive Co. (BBAC), the passenger car-joint venture between Daimler and BAIC, was invited as a guest to the World Employee Committee Meeting. It became apparent that, due to their history and the political system, Chinese unions have a different self-understanding from unions that are independent of the state and party. Nevertheless the dialogue and co-operation shall be continued and intensified.

The ultimate goal of the WEC is employee representation of all large global sites. Only by means of representation, the developments in the company, which have become more and more international, may be accompanied in a meaningful way by employee representatives. The American autoworkers' union, UAW, is currently endeavouring to establish employee representation in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa. The WEC emphatically supports these efforts.

Based on the principles of social responsibility, which were first agreed upon by the management and the WEC in 2002, Daimler is committed to respect fundamental workers' rights. Freedom of association, the right to establish unions and the right of collective bargaining are the essential parts of these principles.

Daimler also expects its business partners to respect these rights. Since their inception, a total of 24 possible violations of the principles of social responsibility at business partners could be scrutinized worldwide. Most of these conflicts have been solved in a satisfactory manner.