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ThyssenKrupp unions urge company to keep elevator business

16 January, 2020The thyssenkrupp Elevator Group Works Council has written to the management of the troubled firmed urging them not to completely sell off the elevator business to raise funds.

German multinational conglomerate thyssenkrupp is in financial trouble, with some of its business areas performing badly. The company faces a €4 billion hole in its balance sheet, and will sell some business areas to raise funds.

However, some parts of the business are extremely successful and profitable, such as the Elevator section. The company is considering several options to raise the money it needs: the first is to maintain control of Elevators, but list it on the stock market as an independent company and raise funds with an initial public offering of shares. A second is to find a partner and sell part of the business, but maintain control. A third option is to sell the business entirely, which risks seeing it carved up by the new owner.

Unions representing thyssenkrupp favour the first option. The Elevator Group Works Council has written to the executive board and supervisory board, saying,

“Any separation of Elevator will result in thyssenkrupp losing not only its most profitable business, but also around a third of its global workforce....

“A majority or complete sale will only generate a onetime financial effect. Thereafter it will no longer be possible to put the consistently good earnings of the Elevator division toward improving the balance sheet of thyssenkrupp AG.”

They urged the company not to split Elevator, saying:

“One reason why Elevator is so successful and profitable is that the division as a whole stands on a broad footing. Its diversity and global network are a fundamental strength. That is why the unity of the Elevator group must be maintained in the future.”

They reminded the company that should the sale go ahead, existing agreements mean that the potential buyer must conclude a best buyer agreement with IndustriALL Global Union’s German affiliate IG Metall. This agreement would cover all 53,000 employees around the world, the majority of whom are outside Europe.

IndustriALL industry director Matthias Hartwich said:

“Without a best buyer agreement the works councils and trade unions cannot agree any sale of the Elevator business of thyssenkrupp. IndustriALL will stand with the 53,000 employees worldwide and defend their rights and interests. Employees must not pay the price for bad management decisions of the past.”