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Workers around the globe demand Lafarge and Holcim improve occupational safety

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28 April, 2015Over the last four years, 295 workers have lost their lives while working for Lafarge and Holcim.


The two cement giants have announced a mega-merger to be completed by mid 2015. As main shareholders of the colossal cement company are likely to start counting profit margins the rights of the workers, who create these profits, are disregarded.

The death toll is unjustifiably high. Both Lafarge and Holcim must address this serious problem through a series of measures to improve the situation.

Permanent labour is replaced by precarious jobs with deteriorated working conditions. The vast majority, close to 90 per cent, of the perished workers are so called "indirect employees", once again proving that indirectly employed workers run a higher risk of being implicated in an accident.

However the fatal injuries are just a tip of the iceberg compared to the health impact of work in the cement industry. Workers are exposed to hazardous substances and suffer fatal respiratory diseases and increased risk of cancers. Neither of the companies has done nearly enough to protect workers’ health.

Today on 28 April 2015, the International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers, workers at Lafarge and Holcim are specifically demanding

  • A joint health and safety committees in all workplaces
  • A global agreement with unions that covers a set of worker´s rights, including health and safety
  • A global union council to oversee its implementation

IndustriALL General Secretary, Jyrki Raina says, “Workers have built both Lafarge’s and Holcim’s wealth and the companies should treat workers with dignity and respect. Signing a Global Framework Agreement with Lafarge in 2013 was an important step. The new company must take further steps to show a genuinely socially responsible business model. The fundamental workers’ right to return home in good health after work must become the core value of this model.”

Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Wood Workers International, BWI says, “These deaths could have and should have been prevented. Despite all their rhetoric about sustainability and corporate social responsibility, these companies know full well that their drive to maximise shareholder profits through outsourcing and precarious contractual relationships is putting workers’ lives at risk and wrecking families around the world.

We demand that Holcim and Lafarge, before their mega merger, reconsider their reckless employment policies and labour practices and start putting people before profits.  No merger without workers’ health and safety rights!“

Sam Hägglund, General Secretary of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, EFBWW says, “Precarious employment forms and safety and health risks at work are intimately interlinked. The frequencies of fatal accidents of Holcim and Lafarge are another example of how profit-maximization is done at the expense of workers’ lives. We demand that a policy for workers’ health and well-being are put at the core of what the companies call their ‘sustainability policy’. All health and safety provisions need to be valid and implemented for all workers, independently of employment forms”


Press contacts:

IndustriALL Global Union

Director, Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries
Mobile: +41 79 945 57 26,  Tel: +41 22 308 50 85
Email: [email protected]

Building and Woodworkers International, BWI
Global Director Occupational Health and Safety and Construction Industry
Tel. +41 79 446 12 90
Email: [email protected]

European Federation of Building and Woodworkers, EFBWW
General Secretary
Tel. +32 222 710 41
Email: [email protected]