Displaying items by tag: Workers
Spain: Cementos Cosmos has stopped exports from its Niebla cement plant due to an increase in the price of petcoke. The subsidiary of Brazil’s Votorantim has also implemented a Temporary Regulation of Employment from June 2017 to May 2018 that will enable it to suspend workers or reduce working hours, according to the Huelva Información newspaper. The cement producer says it is waiting for planning permission to install a dosing system for waste fuels that will cut it fuel bill. However, the local community has opposed attempts to use alternative waste fuels previously.
Gabon: The workers union at CimGabon have held a press conference calling for state intervention in the local cement sector. They blamed ‘uncontrolled’ imports of cement for threatening the closure of the producer’s grinding plant at Owendo, according to the Binto Media Group. The calls for state action follow the suspension of investment by Ciments de l'Afrique (CIMAF) on an upgrade project at the plant. In 2014 the company shut down its clinker plant at Estuaire and its cement grinding plant at Franceville. Germany’s HeidelbergCement also has a stake in the producer.
Switzerland: LafargeHolcim and employee representatives in Europe have established a new European Works Council (EWC). The forum for consultation and dialogue at a transnational level will bring together worker representatives from 19 countries with senior leaders from LafargeHolcim.
“People are essential to the success of LafargeHolcim and our commitment to social dialogue through the new European Works Council is testament to this. During a period of transformation, we recognise that ensuring the full commitment, mobilisation, and engagement of our employees is a key building block for success,” said Eric Olsen, chief executive officer of LafargeHolcim.
The EWC was established based on an agreement signed by Olsen and Executive Committee members Caroline Luscombe, responsible for Organisation and Human Resources and Roland Köhler, responsible for Europe, Australia / New Zealand and Trading as well as Sam Hägglund, General Secretary of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers EFBWW, among other management and employee representatives. Chaired by Köhler, the EWC replaces the previous European Works Councils. Countries represented in the EWC include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
Jordan: The General Association for Construction Workers has opposed Lafarge Jordan's decision to give workers at its Fuheis cement plant a three-month paid holiday. The worker’s body has requested that Lafarge provide staff with guarantees that they will receive their full rights after the holiday period ends, according to the Jordan Times. The paid leave started on 2 March 2017 and was implemented to reduce costs at the plant. Clinker production stopped at the plant in 2013 and cement grinding and packaging stopped in July 2016. Around 200 workers are affected by the arrangements.
Greece: The Labour Ministry has said that a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on a group dismissal of workers by the Heracles General Cement Company in 2013 has supported the government’s position on the issue. The ministry has defended its current legislation on mass layoffs, saying that it should be modified not abolished, according to the Athens News Agency.
"We must first clarify that the court's decision does not concern the existing restrictions on mass dismissals, which are absolutely compatible with community law. The court's ruling is confined to the issue of the administrative advance approval of dismissals and the criteria taken into account by Greek authorities to make these decisions," said the labour ministry in a statement. It added that the ruling found that the Greek government was allowed to block mass layoffs under European Union law in certain circumstances.
World: Workers at LafargeHolcim are holding a ‘global day of action’ in advance of International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2016 to draw attention to the world’s largest cement maker’s alleged widespread violations of workers’ rights, according to the IndustriAll Global Union federation. Workers in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas will ‘mobilise, take actions and demand’ that LafargeHolcim respect workers’ rights.
The union action intends to highlight alleged worker rights violations including an increase in workplace fatalities in 2015, an increasing use of precarious employment, illegal replacement of striking workers in Canada, use of child labour and targeting of union members for dismissal in Uganda, unfair treatment of displaced families due to the development of a plant in Ambuja in India and a ‘poor’ response to workplace accidents in Indonesia.
Unions in the federation are demanding that LafargeHolcim use less precarious work, cooperate better with trade unions on health and safety and restructuring, and enter into ‘meaningful’ negotiations with them about the future of labour relations and social dialogue.
“We expect that the world number one in the cement sector is not only number one in figures and cement sales, but also in labour standards and workers’ rights,” said general secretary of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) Sam Hägglund.
India: Engineering firm Larsen & Toubro (L&T) laid off 14,000 employees between April and September 2016 or about 11% of its workforce. The reduction in its employees has been done to remove ‘redundant’ jobs, according to the New Indian Express newspaper. Both revenue and profit for the company as a whole and for its Heavy Engineering division rose for the first half of 2016.
Barbados: Arawak Cement has formally offered its staff voluntary separation packages as part of its financial and operational restructuring programme that started in October 2015. In September 2016 the company said that it would offer voluntary separation packages because the first phase of the restructuring had not yielded the results necessary to attain profitability and competitiveness, according to the Barbados Today newspaper. It blamed this on ‘unfavourable’ economic conditions, significant excess cement capacity in the region and highly competitive price sensitive markets. It also cited energy and labour costs as a factor in its decision.
Italy: Italcementi will start temporary lay-offs for workers at its Scafa and Monselice cement plants when unemployment benefits end on 31 January 2017. The plans were announced at a meeting on 14 October 2016 following agreements signed in December 2015 at the Ministry of Labour by trade union representatives and Italcementi’s workers, according to the Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper. The cement producer has confirmed that the on-going reorganisation at its plants are related to poor market conditions and not the acquisition of Italcementi by HeidelbergCement.
Myanmar: Five foreign workers at Mawlamyine Cement, a cement plant being built by Siam Cement and CITIC Heavy Industries, have been charged for violating visa regulations. The workers failed to report the initial arrival of 11 of their colleagues’ to the local immigration authorities, according to the Myanmar Times. Four Chinese and one Thai citizen have been charged with violating three sections of the Registration of Foreigners Rules of 1948 which require the registration of foreigners with relevant immigration officials within 24 hours of arrival at a hotel.
Siam Cement and CITIC Heavy Industries signed a deal in 2013 to build a 5000t/day plant for US$197m. The plant is expected to become operational later in 2016.