One delegate from Germany and one from UK were missing because of short-term reasons resp. flight cancellation.
Nadine Florian (Germany), the chairwoman of the EWC, opened the meeting. She noted, that the EWC is meanwhile complete; the elections have been finalized in all 17 represented countries. She also explained, that the position of the deputy chairman has to be re-filled. In her speech, she addressed the difficult circumstances of the present such as the ongoing pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy and general price crisis. She said, that there have been political defaults in the past and that the employees and their unions in Europe have to stay united.
All delegates then presented themselves.
Hans Kreimer (Austria) explained the Austrian system of employee representation, the union landscape and the situation of Siemens Energy in Austria. He then gave a brief report of the meeting of the delegates of the region “Central and Eastern Europe”.
The delegates elected unanimously Robert Kensbock (Germany) as new deputy chairman of the EWC.
Rebeca Ribes (Spain) reported on the region “South Western Europe”, consisting of Spain, France, Portugal and Italy. The situation is different from country to country and from business-field to business-field. SGRE (Siemens-Gamesa Renewable Energies) is under pressure, especially in Spain. The management is thinking of selling parts of the company. There are problems in first place at the onshore wind power business. The acquisition of 100 % of the shares of SGRE by Siemens Energy will also affect Spain.
Robert Kensbock explained the next steps, that the management of Siemens Energy will take to take over all shares of SGRE.
Jens Sörensen (Denmark) reported on the region “North Western Europe”, consisting of Denmark, UK, Sweden, Norway and Netherlands.
The delegates discussed the topics for the meeting with the management on the next day.
Luis Nuin (Spain) proposed to create a committee of the EWC on the issue of health and safety. Günter Augustat (Germany) supported this proposal. Robert Kensbock suggested to discuss the topic with Mr. Holt, the Labor Director of Siemens Energy. As a first step, the existing situation has to be found out and analysed.
Several delegates mentioned local difficulties with the implementation of the “VOLT” program. There is a lack of information about the program. Obviously in most cases, only the EWC has received an information, but this has not been continued and deepened on local level.
The delegates also discussed the issue of the growing inflation and how this can be compensated by wage increases. A question in this context was, if the decision on wage increases are made on local level or at the headquarter. Some delegates criticized the fact, that there are different wage increases in the different countries and also differences to other companies.
Several delegates criticized the reduced capacities of HR and the missing attractiveness of the company as employer. The question, where the decisions on the headcount are made, was also raised.
The delegates from Spain especially criticized the unclear strategy for SGRE and the “Mistral” program, which was carried out at SGRE.
Peter Bonder (Netherlands) saw the sale of the Heat Transfer Technology (formerly NEM) to the private equity company Mutares as critical and not well-founded.
Horst Hakelberg (Germany) gave a report of the Siemens-Gamesa working group. It group has online meetings every three months. He also mentioned the existing Global Framework Agreement of Siemens-Gamesa. This agreement is put into question by the 100 % take-over by Siemens Energy. The best solution would be a Global Framework Agreement for the entire company Siemens Energy.
Robert Kensbock explained the strategy for the Global Framework Agreement of Siemens Energy. The intention is to attach the agreement to the Supervisory Board, because this would give the best chance to safeguard the rights of employees and unions in the company on global level.
The Select Committee of the EWC has worked out a plan for the regional meetings of next year. Each regional meeting will be followed by an online meeting of the whole EWC to keep everybody informed.
On the second day of the meeting, Mr. Holt, the Labour Director of Siemens Energy, Mrs. Vargiu-Breuer, Head of HR, Mr. Fernández-Combarro, HR Director of Siemens-Gamesa, and Mr. Prešern, Director of Siemens Energy in Austria, joined the EWC delegates as representatives of the management. Mr. Prešern gave a report on Siemens Energy in Austria and the region Central Eastern Europe.
Mr. Holt informed the EWC delegates about the current situation of the company. He mentioned rising costs for materials, transport and also financing. The future of the business in Russia is unsure. He then compared the situation of Siemens Energy to the situation of the competitors. Mr. Holt described the intentions of the “VOLT” program and the full integration of SGRE into Siemens Energy. The integration process is at the moment depending on the stock exchange supervisory authority in Spain before the next steps can be taken.
Mrs. Vargiu-Breuer gave an overview as Head of HR. She described the new structure of the company and the intended effect of the program “VOLT”, which is supposed to simplify the management structures. She admitted, that the presented information on local level has not been sufficient yet, because the process went so fast.
The delegates discussed the issue of wage increases and the corresponding decision process with Mr. Holt and Mrs. Vargiu-Breuer. As result it became clear, that local and headquarter management are involved in this process and that there are certain budget requirements, which have to be met.
A similar discussion was held on the topic of recruiting of workforce and the question of where the decisions are made on this. Paulina Kocylowska (Poland) criticized the reduction of HR personnel on local level. Nadine Florian told the delegates, that the leadership of the EWC will continue to discuss the possibilities to improve the information process regarding various topics with the management.
Peter Bonder asked for the reasons of the sale of the unit HTT. Mr. Holt replied, that the company is looking to reduce the complexity of its portfolio and that HTT was no longer competitive.
Dr. Eickholt (CEO of Siemens-Gamesa) joined the meeting online from Hamburg and informed the delegates about the current situation of SGRE. He explained, that the general situation of the wind power business is still difficult although the market perspectives are positive. The productivity at SGRE is too low and there are home-made problems.
He then informed the EWC delegates about the measures, that the management wants to take. These will result in a cut of 2 900 jobs, 1 900 of these in Europe. The factory in Tanger, Morocco, will be closed. Dr. Eickholt said, that there is no decision up to now on the sale of the parts of SGRE, which do not belong to the wind power business.
He agreed to the delegates from Spain and Germany, that it should be made possible, that employees, whose jobs are cut at SGRE, can change to Siemens Energy. He also consented to the demand for talks and negotiations with the unions and the employee representatives on local level as soon as possible.
Mr. Fernández-Combarro, the HR Director of SGRE, completed Dr. Eickholt´s explanations. He emphasized, that there will also be job growth at SGRE, mainly at the plants in Le Havre (France), Hull (UK), Vagos (Portugal) and Aalborg (Denmark). In general, the workforce should be localized more than it is at the moment.
Nadine Florian demanded to also take possible qualification measures into account to save jobs for the employees of SGRE. She pointed out, that the EWC has to be informed, too, about the taken measures and the steps of the whole process.
Nadine Florian then gave a final speech to close the meeting. She summed up the main points of the discussion of the delegates, which have been the need to improve the information process and to reduce various inequities, for example concerning the development of wages, but also of job opportunities.
The delegates finally discussed the meeting and its outcome among themselves. Nadine Florian said, that the questions, which remained open, will be answered in written form. She said, that Luis Nuin´s proposal to have a committee for health and safety issues will be followed up. She proposed to present different models of employee representation at the EWC meetings, starting at the next meeting.
Report: Dirk Linder