On 12 July 2017, LafargeHolcim and global unions IndustriALL Global Union and BWI, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Zurich, signaling their intention to sign the final draft of a Global Framework Agreement. The objective of the GFA is to establish and conduct a constructive and responsible social dialogue between the company and the global unions.
The three parties agreed earlier this year to begin discussing, negotiating and concluding a Global Framework Agreement (GFA) in 2017. The agreement confirms that the workers are core to the success of LafargeHolcim, and the ambition is to create a workplace that is safe, diverse, inclusive, and respectful where people enjoy coming to work.
The MoU signed in Zurich today is a prelude to the GFA, reaffirming the commitment to a comprehensive GFA, to be signed later this year. LafargeHolcim was represented by Eric Olsen, CEO, and Caroline Luscombe, Head of OHR, Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan represented IndustriALL, and General Secretary Ambet Yuson BWI.
Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary described the negotiations: ”We have reached a good final draft of the agreement, which all three entities are recommending for signature in their final consultations. It has been a lengthy process, but that is very healthy, because it means we have matured our mutual understanding of the concepts and expectations. For that reason we are confident that LH is sincere in their commitment to uphold all the key international labour standards in all of their operations and that they are serious about implementing and monitoring this agreement. The right to join a trade union, the right to organise and the right to collective bargaining are fundamental human rights, and very necessary everywhere in the world.
Health and safety at work is a critically important area covered in this agreement. Prevention of deaths, injuries and ill health is top priority for the trade unions. So this year we will be developing a Global Health and SAfety Agreement with LH. The company has also agreed to setting up a H&S working group to contribute to that important work, and to improve genuine workers participation.
One important feature of this agreement is the recognition of our network of trade unions in the company worlwide, and the commitment to hold an annual conference of delegates to have a dialogue with LH management. The first will take place in new delhi in early October. Aside from these annual meetings, we have established a coordination team together with the company for regular monitoring and, when the need arises, for conflict resolution.”
Yuson concluded: “This agreement with the trade unions, therefore, has greater credibility than unilateral company Codes of Conduct and company Sustainability reports when it comes to workers rights. And that's because it is monitored by the workers themselves and their trade union representatives.
We look forward to working with LH and with our trade union affiliates around the world to really implement these standards in practice.”
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary, said on the MoU:
"A Global Framework Agreement between LafargeHolcim, IndustriALL and BWI is not only a benchmark in the materials industries; it is also a strong signal to Swiss multinationals to engage with their most important stakeholders - their workforce. We will make sure this GFA is successful."
• LafargeHolcim has around 100,000 employees in 2,500 plants in 90 countries
• IndustriALL Global Union represents more than 50 million workers in the mining, energy and industrial sectors
• Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) represents more than 12 million workers in the building, building materials and wood industries.