This year´s meeting of the Siemens Europe Committee (SEC) had to take place online as a “virtual” meeting because of the travel restrictions as consequence of the spread of the new corona virus.
The meeting was necessary even under the given circumstances, because the SEC had to agree on an adaption of the SEC agreement with the company in order to safeguard the number of delegates in spite of the decrease of the number of represented employees.
This is caused by the split-off of Siemens Energy and Siemens Gamesa and also had to start the process aiming at the formation of the new European Works Council for Energy and Gamesa. Both companies will operate under the roof of the future Siemens Energy.
The participants of the meeting represented Siemens employees from Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland, Ireland, Bulgaria and Greece.
The meeting was the last official SEC meeting, in which Roy Lund from Norway participated before his retirement. Roy has been one of the founding members of the SEC 25 years ago. The SEC thanked Roy for his long-time dedication to the work of the SEC and wished him all the best for his future.
The management was represented by Dr. Busch in his current position as head of HR.
The Executive Committee of the SEC had prepared the meeting and its main issues, such as the future of the regional company structures in Europe, the handling of the anti-virus measures at Siemens and the formation of a new European Works Council for Siemens Energy.
The meeting was divided in several different sessions. It started with the regional meetings of the regions Central-/East-, North-West- and South-West-Europe.
The SEC representatives gave reports on the anti-virus measures in their countries. Generally, most of the white collar workers could work from home and there were several safety measures for the blue collar workers and field technicians. Some unions, like in Spain, Italy or France, could reach agreements with Siemens on regula-tions of working time and payment for reduced working time. This also applies to Germany, where there is an agreement that guarantees additional payment from the company for workers with reduced working time.
In some cases, the equipment of the employees did not fulfil the needs, for example to enable to work from home, and was unsatisfactory. The SEC representatives agree that there will probably be negative effects on the global economy, which will occur in the next months and which will cause difficulties.
The second session consisted of the meetings of the representatives from the various business divisions. The group of representatives from Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa discussed the business situation, the role of Siemens-Gamesa in the new company and especially the steps towards the formation of the European Works Council of Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa.
The group from Smart Infrastructure expressed some criticism on the announced job cuts and the lack of explanation of the company´s strategy.
The group of representatives from Digital Industries criticized the orders for the reduction of working time from the management of the software business in the US. This was obviously not aware of the European regulations for the participation of the unions and employee re-presentations in these issues.
The Mobility group agreed that this division currently shows a very good performance. The representatives from Switzerland and Spain mentioned that the relationship between employee representation and management has worsened since Mobility has more independence.
At Healthineers, the situation was discussed as currently being mixed. On one hand, the com-plete healthcare sector is benefitting from increased demand for medical products caused by the virus-crisis, on the other hand, the restrictions, like closed borders or lockdowns, are restraining the business.
In the internal part of the SEC meeting, the delegates agreed unanimously on the adaption of the Siemens SEC agreement to the reduced number of employees caused by the split-off of Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa and the formation of a working group for Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa. This working group will consist of 17 members from 11 countries.
Birgit Steinborn, chair of the Works Council of Siemens Germany, explained the current de-velopment at Siemens from her point of view.
She said, that the management describes the future structure of Siemens, Siemens Healthineers and Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa as “Siemens Eco-System”. She said that the crucial questions will be the importance of hardware for the Siemens portfolio and the meaning of the defined “Industrial Core” of the company. She named innovation, social responsibility and cooperation of the Siemens companies as objectives of the employee representations and unions at Siemens.
At the part of the meeting with the management, Dr. Busch gave an overview of the Covid-19 situation at Siemens and the current economic situation. He said, that the negative effects on the business caused by the global anti-virus measures are expected for the next months. He pointed out, that the schedule for the spin off of Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa is still unchanged. The new company is supposed to start in October.
Mrs. Benini explained the business strategy of Smart Infrastructure.
Mr. Heuring gave a statement on Digital Industries.
Mr. Jeske-Schönhoven represented Mobility.
Mr. Philip and Mrs. Bock informed about the situation at Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa. They said, that the management supports the formation of the new European Works Council for Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa.
Mr. Stülpner represented the management of Healthineers.
Finally, Mr. Magas made some remarks on the “Portfolio Companies”, especially the Airports and Logistics business.
In the final internal SEC session, the SEC chairman Harald Kern underlined, that the future SEC meetings will be personal meetings again. The SEC meeting at the end of the year will be in Munich, next year´s meeting will be in Lisbon.
He said, that the SEC will check the legal basis of the election of the delegates in each coun-try. The SEC is therefore looking for support by and cooperation with the unions on national level.
The unions should also organize the further cooperation of the representatives from the Sie-mens companies, especially after the split-off of Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa.
The SEC delegates agreed on creating their own “Siemens Eco-System” for the employees of Siemens, Siemens Healthineers and Siemens Energy/Siemens-Gamesa and their unions and employee representations.
(Report: Dirk Linder)