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Holcim’s Indian Subsidiaries Condemned

Written By krishna on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | 7:30 AM

Illegal Working Conditions in Holcim’s Indian Subsidiaries - The International Labour Conference in Geneva condemns Holcim

At the International Labour Conference in Geneva, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) and the Swiss Trade Union Unia condemned Holcim for anti-worker and anti-union practices in its Indian subsidiaries ACC and ACL.

Holcim’s subsidiaries in India continue to employ about 1,200 temporary workers on less favourable conditions than those for their permanent employees, although an Indian court has found that to be illegal. Moreover, for past few weeks, the Holcim subsidiaries have attempted to muzzle the temporary workers’ union by accusing one of its top representatives of imaginary crimes such as theft. Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary, did not mince his words at the ILO Conference: "Holcim has a dual personality. On the one hand, the company adheres to the principles of the UN Global Compact, while on the other hand, it disclaims any responsibility for the anti-worker and at times illegal acts of its subsidiaries in India. In so doing, Holcim is flouting standards of the International Labour Organisation: the fundamental rights to non-discrimination in employment and to freedom of association."

Criminalisation of trade union leaders

Manfred Warda, ICEM General Secretary, said: "The Indian legislation on temporary work provides that temporary workers are entitled to the same wages and working conditions as permanent employees. The Holcim subsidiaries ACC and Ambuja Cement Holcim Limited have ignored those laws for years, despite courts finding in favour of temporary workers. Now the Holcim subsidiaries are trying to silence the temporary workers’ union leaders by painting them as criminals."

No profits without accountability

Vasco Pedrina, representative of Trade Union Unia and head of the Swiss workers’ delegation to the ILO Conference: "Holcim cannot evade its responsibility: it cannot pocket handsome profits from its factories in India, while at the same time withdrawing from its responsibility towards their employees and shifting it on to the local managers. That’s against the rules of the OECD and
the International Labour Organisation. If Holcim doesn’t change course, we’ll file complaints with the OECD and the ILO."

Appeal to Switzerland-based Holcim Group

Trade Union Unia, BWI and ICEM call on Switzerland's Markus Akermann, Holcim Group’s CEO and a member of the board of directors of various Indian companies, to intercede with the Indian subsidiaries so that they finally observe the country’s laws, convert the temporary contracts into permanent ones, participate in the social dialogue process as full members of the Indian
employers’ association for the cement industry, and sign and strictly comply with the collective agreement for the Indian cement industry.

For more information:

Vasco Pedrina, Trade Union Unia and head of the Swiss workers’ delegation, 079 772 37 47
Marion Hellmann, Building and Wood Workers’ International BWI, 079 474 83 70
Phee Jungsun, International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions ICEM, 079 734 90 41
Trade Union Unia
Communication and Campaigns Department
Anne Rubin
Weltpoststrasse 20
3000 Bern 15
T +41 31 350 24 19
M +41 76 344 75 81
F +41 31 350 22 11
anne.rubin@unia.ch
www.unia.ch
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