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IndustriALL Lift and Escalators Network Meeting

4 March, 2014In a meeting organized by IndustriALL Global Union, Lifts and Escalators workers from the “Big Four” met in Vienna on 11 and 12 November and adopted the “Vienna Declaration” to improve working conditions in the sector. Thirty-six trade union reps from 13 countries worldwide came together to strengthen network activities. 

All the "Big Four" were there: Otis, Kone, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp. Worker representatives, European Works Council members and trade union representatives jointly discussed the situation of the industry and also the necessities for safety, health and decent working conditions in the sector. At the end of the meeting, participants unanimously adopted the “Vienna Declaration”. 

In their declaration the lifts and escalators’ workers demand:

  • Measures to meet increasing workload and work related stress
  • An effective mitigation or at least regulation of subcontracting, alongside a joint fight against precarious working conditions in line with the principle: same work, same conditions
  • An end to surveillance/GPS tracking of employees
  • Joint initiatives for occupational health and safety to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for the employees in the industry
  • Binding rules and standards to regulate subcontracting and maintenance of lifts and escalators (with respect to scope, content and frequency).

But, as the sector chair, Rainer Wimmer, who is also chair of IndustriALL’s Austrian affiliate ProGe, stated:

“We do not just complain. We are also ready for social dialogue with the employers to improve working conditions and to bring about sustainable industrial workplaces in the sector. We are striving for decent work for lifts and escalators’ employees, no matter whether permanent or sub-contract workers. I am proud that the group adopted the Vienna declaration which also gives answers to the needs of our sector.” 

Besides the discussions, delegates also took the time to send a message of solidarity to OTIS workers in Victoria, Australia who have been locked out for several weeks. 

Participants also debated the possible consequences of the TTIP (free-trade) agreement, which is being negotiated behind closed doors between the EU and the USA. The core areas of concern were:

  • The need for a transparent discussion and negotiation process
  • Full compliance with ILO core conventions (especially on occupational health and safety)
  • Social security must come before free trade
  • The TTIP must not undermine national worker legislation
  • Workers’ organizations must be heard before negotiations are finalized

In view of the multiple discussions and commitments made during this network meeting,  Matthias Hartwich, Director in charge of the sector within IndustriALL, stated:

“I am happy to see that our group went beyond just lip service, but committed to continue with strengthening the trade union company networks. Participants also committed to cooperate with the existing European Works Councils. With designating contact persons, we made a further step to make the networks operational. On top of that, we started an exchange over organizing efforts and successes. There is a long and winding road ahead of us, but now we are on the way.”

Some photos can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/proge/sets/72157649242984115/