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Unilever workers fighting for decent transfer conditions

28 February, 2013FNV Bondgenoten began taking action on 28 February after talks broke down on ensuring workers’ benefits and rights, including pensions and work guarantees, will remain in their transfer from Unilever to Sodexo.

At the first of a series of actions in The Netherlands, a group of employees at Unilever’s Unox plant in Oss provided colleagues lunch outside the factory on 28 February, offering them a choice between a 'sour sandwich without supplements' or a 'nice sandwich with supplements'.
The Anglo-Dutch food and chemical giant Unilever signed a deal with Sodexo in 2012 over the outsourcing of the company’s facility management services in Europe.  
As a result, in The Netherlands, all Unilever ‘facility management services’ employees still directly employed by Unilever or already outsourced to a service provider will be transferred to Sodexo.
These include cleaners, catering workers, security and receptionists, about 80 employees, including members of IndustriALL Global Union’s affiliate FNV Bondgenoten.
Under EU legislation on employment transfers, some but not all labour conditions are guaranteed after the transfer. The transfer takes effect on 1 May, from which date former Unilever employees will be doing the same work for Unilever under vastly inferior conditions.
Unilever has rejected the union’s demands to safeguard the conditions of the affected workers. The demands are:

  • Compensation for pension losses – at Sodexo, workers will pay more and receive less
  • 5-year employment guarantee
  • 5-year continuation of the structural wage increases in the Unilever Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
  • Indexation of the personal allowances with which the wage difference between Unilever and Sodexo is compensated.
  • Maintenance of overtime allowances, shift work allowances and other allowances related to working times based on the Unilever CBA
  • No broken shifts
  • Maintenance of several disability insurances at the Unilever level.  

You can support the workers in this struggle by sending a message of solidarity to FNV Bongenoten on the IUF website here: http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=733
Or simply write your own message and send to Marjolein Dubbelaar at: [email protected]
The IndustriALL Global Union/IUF Unilever Global UnionNetwork to be held on 6 and 7 March in Eastbourne, UK will also discuss this conflict and possible solidarity actions.