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Sector-wide collective agreements to counter workers’ problems in the chemical industry

25 June, 2015Following industry level bargaining in Germany’s chemical industry earlier this year, IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Belgium and Spain have concluded collective bargaining agreements for the chemical sector with important achievements.

In Belgium, IndustriALL affiliates CSC BIE and CG-FGTB concluded a one-year agreement covering around 100,000 workers, bringing salary increases, early retirement schemes, training measures, as well as a demographic fund.

The demographic fund will play a role for workers with long seniorities. As some workers may need to retire at a later age than expected, the fund aims to deal with related difficulties. Details of the practical arrangement are yet to be decided, but both the employers and the unions will manage the fund.

Although still waiting for approval, IndustriALL’s Spanish affiliates Industria de CC.OO. and FITAG – UGT have recently finalized a three-year sectorial collective agreement covering 200,000 workers. Apart from setting wage increases, the collective bargaining agreement has a clause guaranteeing employee purchasing power, an updated equal opportunity clause, a declaration of principle promoting CSR, and a commitment that training will receive higher priority at work.

In the new agreement, IndustriALL’s two Spanish affiliates managed to make the employers withdraw plans to lengthen working hours, eliminate bonuses linked to career length, and apply a lower minimum salary rise.

The agreement has an updated equal opportunity clause with the reinforcement of a joint committee, and employee representation during crises is improved.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says that the organization congratulates the two Spanish affiliates and welcomes both sector agreements:

Agreements covering an entire industry are rare, but something we hope will be more common in the future as it strengthens workers’ rights.