Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Unions outraged over LafargeHolcim’s sudden u-turn on global commitments

10 January, 2018Global and national unions representing LafargeHolcim workers worldwide express their outrage over the company’s unilateral decision to back down from its signature of a global framework agreement designed to build positive industrial relations throughout the company.

The company gave no reason for its radical reversal from the commitment to sign a global framework agreement, which was announced and approved by the Annual shareholders meeting in 2017. LafargeHolcim simply cites the change of its business strategy with the arrival of a new CEO, who claims its current internal arrangements meet the requirements of the company without any need to make further additions.

The Global Framework Agreement was due to be signed at the International Labour Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on 10 January 2018, presided over by the ILO Director General. In July 2017 LafargeHolcim top-management signed, together with IndustriALL Global Union and Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), a Memorandum of Understanding committing to sign the Agreement.

The company has now decided, on 22 December, not to sign the global agreement, even though it continues to be plagued by the worst health and safety performance in the industry.

IndustriALL Global Union and BWI, together with The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), European Works Council (EWC) and national unions, through an emergency meeting in Geneva on 9 January, made a strong statement expressing outrage and anger against LafargeHolcim’s unilateral stepping back from the joint decision to establish a global social dialogue structure in the group.

National, European and Global Unions believe that LafargeHolcim should reconsider their position and:

  • Come back to fair labour relations and social dialogue, sign the Global Framework Agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL and BWI Global Unions;
  • Put an end to the abuse of sub contracted and third-party workers within the company;
  • Respect its own promises regarding the involvement of workers and their representatives in improving occupational health and safety and preventing any more needless deaths and major injuries at LafargeHolcim.

Valter Sanches, IndustriALL General Secretary, comments on LafargeHolcim latest broken promise:

“This recent decision to break the agreement on building a social dialogue further damages the credibility of the company. We strongly believe that the shareholders, board of directors and all decision makers in LafargeHolcim must think carefully what the future will hold for LafargeHolcim if this destructive approach prevails. This would be a huge obstacle in getting the company back on a good track.”

“LafargeHolcim needs to clean up their act,

says Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary.

Cement is a hazardous industry, but prevention of accidents and ill health is seriously undermined by the abuse of outsourcing in the company and its refusal to take responsibility for bad working conditions. Trade unions have the capacity to help the company but it should be ready to change its exploitative employment policies and labour practices.”

Sam Hägglund, EFBWW General Secretary says,

“European trade unions are outraged about LafargeHolcim management’s decision to withdraw from their word. After we signed a strong European Works Council Agreement in spring 2017, we expected that LafargeHolcim would become the benchmark in social dialogue. Now we witness that this approach is under threat. This is a bad sign for the future of all workers and other stakeholders of this group.”