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Mega merger in cement sector alarms workers

25 July, 2014As cement giants Holcim and Lafarge are merging, IndustriALL Global Union and the European Federation of Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) met this week with the European Works Council (EWC) restricted committees from the two companies to discuss the situation.

Coming together in Brussels on 22 July, workers’ representatives voiced their concerns regarding a number of decisions made by the management. Jobs are under threat and the process of information and consultation is deemed insufficient.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL Global Union Director of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries states:

The way the decisions have been made is a sad example of cherry picking and a clear violation of both groups’ CSR declarations.

"Not taking workers’ interests and needs into account, not informing and consulting trade unions in a proper way is absolutely inacceptable, especially considering that we have a global framework agreement (GFA) with Lafarge and both groups have promised a fair social dialogue."

IndustriALL, the EFBWW, and the EWC restricted committees are convinced that the merging companies are seeking tax and wage advantages wherever possible. The first decisions made in Europe are seen as a clear indicator.

But the consequences go beyond Europe; workers in plants and facilities in the USA, Canada, Mexico, India and Russia are also affected.

Matthias Hartwich says:

"We will fight to ensure that workers all over the world will be heard during the merger process, as well as afterwards. We will create a global trade union network for the workers of this Holcim-Lafarge group in order to ensure a fair participation of workers in both Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe."