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Holcim and Lafarge workers prepare for global mobilization

23 April, 2015Workers of Holcim and Lafarge on all continents are preparing to champion their health and safety rights to a prominent position within the new cement giant created through the merger of Holcim and Lafarge.

New actions are planned at Holcim Lafarge facilities in South and North America, Asia and Europe on 28 April – the International commemoration day for dead and injured workers.

In January 2013, five Holcim workers lost their lives in a terrible accident at Ambuja-Holcim factory in India. The accident was the result of factory management neglecting health and safety regulations. The fly ash hopper situated on the fifth floor was overloaded by almost its double capacity. Weighing 300 tons, it collapsed and crashed through four floors. The air was thick with dust for hours. Five workmen remained under debris.

This horrible case is not unique. The same year a total of 73 workers were killed at their workplace in Holcim and Lafarge. The interests of workers who sweat their guts out to build the companies’ wealth remain ignored. As a result workers keep paying a high price with their lives.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. The total figure of deaths does not include those who became fatally ill due of exposure at their workplace to hazardous substances known to cause respiratory diseases and cancer.

Workers have repeatedly raised their concerns with both companies. At the most recent Holcim Annual general meeting of shareholders’ where representatives of IndustriALL Global Union, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and European Federation of Building and Woodworkers unions (EFBWW) and their affiliates brought forward workers’ demands to shareholders. Union manifestation was organized outside the building where shareholders met and leaflets with workers’ demands were distributed.

Unfortunately, both companies has so far turned a deaf ear to the workers’ plight and seem to take little care about uncertain future of their more than 130,000 strong workforce.

To change the situation and to stop the ruthless profit making at the expense of workers’ lives, on 28 April IndustriALL, BWI, EFBWW and affiliates will mobilize and demand “No merger without workers’ health and safety rights”.

The campaign materials are available on the page. Updates will be published on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/UnionsatLafargeHolcim.

Also, give your support to the Holcim and Lafarge workers’ campaign at http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=2634