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Saint-Gobain Eupen workers still uncertain about future

7 March, 2024In October last year, Saint-Gobain announced its intention to close its Eupen plant. Since then 55 workers and their union, CSC Bâtiment- Industrie-Energie, an IndustriALL Belgian affiliate, have been trying to save their jobs. 

The union organized a series of protests in a bid to bring attention to the destiny of workers, some of whom have worked for 20 to 40 years at the plant. Simultaneously, the union tried to negotiate with local management any posssibilities of safeguarding the jobs or at least finding a buyer for the plant. However, the union believes that the company has no intention of saving the workers’ jobs.

At a recent works council meeting, Vincent Lamberigts, a senior representative of CSC Bâtiment-Industrie-Energie at Saint-Gobain Eupen, expressed that despite a serious buyer requesting company information, there has been no response for five weeks. The union feels that management did not treat this matter with the necessary urgency during the meeting.

The union is planning an action in Paris on 8 March to further expose Eupen workers’ rights for jobs and a possible meeting with the senior Saint-Gobain leadership.

Following the announcement IndustriALL wrote to the company in November expressing strong opposition regarding the decision to close the plant, which would seriously affect the livelihood of workers and their families. 

In December last year delegates of the global union network, Saint-Gobain representing company workers worldwide, paid close attention to the company's failed strategies and the desperate need to find a buyer for the Eupen site. The network members expressed strong solidarity with Eupen workers.

In a recent letter to Saint-Gobain management, IndustriALL general secretary, Atle Høie, stressed that negotiations be done and that a feasible solution be found:

“It is imperative that the headquarter’s management and the management responsible for the Benelux region contact the unions, including the CSC Bâtiment- Industrie-Energie, to engage in good-faith negotiations, and with the commitment from Saint-Gobain to act socially responsibly throughout its operations, to find a viable and fair solution for the Eupen plant workers.”

Photos: Csc Liège