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Workers’ rights must be respected in HeidelbergCement’s takeover of Italcementi

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18 November, 2015IndustriALL Global Union joins the European Works Councils (EWCs) of HeidelbergCement and Italcementi to demand that the companies’ employees are involved and consulted throughout the acquisition process.

Meeting in Steinbach, Frankfurt, on 16 November, the restricted committees of both EWCs, and IndustriALL agreed a joint strategy and demands for social dialogue in the new company. The worker representatives also discussed with the Global Human Resources Director to establish a roadmap to set up a joint EWC.

The representatives agreed with the global HR director on a timeline for future joint meetings and open issues. They also agreed to have a training session to create a joint body as soon as legally possible.

Determined that this takeover will not harm workers and their rights, both EWCs and the global unions insist on a continuous process of information and consultation throughout the process, and beyond.

HeidelbergCement EWC chair, Giel Beks stated at the end of the meeting:

“This was a very fruitful and efficient meeting because we worked jointly and focused on our goals. Now we have a clear common understanding of our goals and of how we will reach them. The next meetings will set the milestones for this process. I am quite confident that we will be able to create a smooth integration.”

HeidelbergCement employs 45,000 workers, and has an annual turnover of 12.6 bn €. Italcementi employs 18,000 workers, and has an annual turnover of 4.2 bn €. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the summer of 2016, and no major delays are forecast such as from competition regulators.

This will be the second major change in the global cement market within 12 months following the LafargeHolcim merger in July 2015.

Core issues:

  • Create a fair and efficient new joint EWC for the new HeidelbergCement company as soon as possible
  • Create a system of social dialogue so that trade unions and works councils can accompany this acquisition
  • Create a roadmap to achieve a future system of a global social dialogue: establish a Global Framework Agreement (GFA) between HeidelbergCement and the Global Unions IndustriALL and BWI. There is an existing agreement with Italcementi.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director for Materials Industries and Mechanical Engineering, promised:

The global unions will be at your side during this process. And we will also make the link between Europe and the other parts of the world that will be affected by this merger.