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LafargeHolcim message heard “Workers’ rights are human rights”

15 December, 2016LafargeHolcim workers, shop stewards, works councils and trade unions across the globe held actions on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on 10 December demanding the cement giant LafargeHolcim to respect human rights.

Mobilizations and rallies took place in the Americas, Europe and Africa where members of IndustriALL Global Union, the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) used the slogan “Workers’ rights are human rights” to declare loud and clear that they would not tolerate violation of workers’ human rights and would continue raising their voice on behalf of workers in LafargeHolcim.

Some like the Uganda Building Workers’ Union used the day of action to launch an organizing drive and bring more outsourced workers at LafargeHolcim into their ranks. In Lebanon workers held general assembly dedicated to the global day of action.

Others, like the PTHI union in Indonesia used the day to voice their discontent and disagreement with management over company risky plans, which the union believes would eliminate permanent jobs and increase precarious work.

PCWC members in the Philippines supported the day of action with their members’ mobilizations and meetings, while on the other side of the world in the USA, United Steelworkers at Allegheny Technologies Steel who were locked out last year extended their strong solidarity support to locked out USW members at Texada in Canada. The same day United Steelworkers bargaining a new contract at LafargeHolcim’s rival Heidelberg Cement also showed their support to their brothers and sisters at LafargeHolcim.

Workers’ demands remain unchanged since 2015 when the company merged. The global unions want a functioning social dialogue repeatedly promised by management in order to tackle unsolved issues, including:

  • Necessity to reduce outsourcing, subcontracting and other forms of precarious work
  • Need to cooperate better with trade unions on health and safety
  • Entering into meaningful negotiations with trade unions about on-going restructuring, the future of labour relations and social issues.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL construction materials director said,

“LafargeHolcim claims to be market leader and benchmark in the sector. Now it is high time for them to show that they are serious: LafargeHolcim has to keep its promises to workers and build a meaningful social dialogue that helps to safe workers’ lives and workers’ rights. ”