29 June, 2021Over 50 worker representatives from sixteen countries from all over the globe met online to discuss the social situation within CRH, the Irish origin building materials producer.
The meeting was called by IndustriALL Global Union, Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), and European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) and was a continuation of the work started at the conference in Dublin in 2019 when the network of union representatives and activists was formed.
The participants exchanged their views on the challenges faced by their unions and workers in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the subcontracting, OHS, climate change, necessity of just transition and the state of social dialogue in CRH companies.
Opening the meeting Ambet Yuson, BWI general secretary, welcomed CRH union delegates, and said,
“Over the last five to ten years CRH became a major player in the cement industry. The company established new operations in the Global South. Workers hoped the CRH arrival would be for the better, expecting investment, modernization and development. Unfortunately we witnessed the opposite. Violation of CBA in Ukraine, introduction of double shifts in Brazil in time of COVID-19 and excessive contractualization in the Philippines. They are not in conformity with international human rights standards and commitment of the company under the OECD guidelines. We need to join our forces and fight this injustice.”
The conference delegates discussed the state of arts in the negotiations aimed at conclusion of a new agreement for the CRH European Works Council and expressed their support to the efforts at the European level.
Tom Deleu, EFBWW general secretary said,
“In CRH we have some work to do. At the European level we have a clear legislative framework regarding the social dialogue within multinational companies. CRH has a voluntary agreement, but we believe it is substandard. Over the recent years they became a global player and they need now to engage with the unions at local, European and global level. We are aiming at improved dialogue under the binding rules of European directive and we will not accept anything less.”
The delegates discussed a detailed plan of action focused on collecting the information about the situation in the company regarding union presence, digitalization, company response to climate change and other. While establishing and building social dialogue with the company, the delegates also decided to reach out to the company stakeholders and engage with them on crucial issues.
The participants also decided to prepare a joint statement, which after consultation with the delegates will be shared with the company and published here.
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary congratulated the participants with the successful conference and said,
“It is the second global meeting focused on the problems of social dialogue in CRH. We are offering our hand and are seeking a transparent dialogue, as long as this reciprocal we will be happy to cooperate. But CRH must become transparent about their cooperation with us, and we will not tolerate other attitude. If the company accepts our offer we will do our best to build our relationship based on mutual respect, if not, we have other methods in our toolbox and have enough experience to conduct also campaigns if needed.”