On May 23rd/24th in Bratislava, 34 members of the Siemens Europe Committee (SEC) from 20 countries took part in their annual meeting.
One of the main topics of the meeting was the upcoming merger of the division Mobility with the company Alstom and especially the in this context established new opportunity for additional committees, to which the Siemens Europe Committee can delegate certain rights for information and consultation.
Dani Garcia (Alstom Spain), Daniel Draeger (Alstom France) and Enrico Barbanti (Alstom Italy) took part in the meeting as guests and representatives of the European Works Council of Alstom. They explained, that the attitude of the European Works Council of Alstom towards the merger with Siemens Mobility is still not homogeneous. Especially in France, there is still a lot of reservation towards the merger.
They also expressed the demand for job guarantees for all European countries by the new company, as these have been declared for Germany and France. The Siemens Europe Committee supported this demand by unanimously agreeing to a declaration, which calls for these job guarantees in all European countries.
Ladislav Annus, the representative from Slovakia, gave as host of the meeting some information about Siemens in Slovakia. He especially mentioned the growing competition for qualified workforce in all countries of Central Eastern Europe and the injustice that comes along with this competition, which means that new employees are offered higher wages than the resident employees. He also addressed the issue of loss of synergies in smaller Siemens representations caused by the growing number of separate companies.
The Siemens Europe Committee agreed unanimously after a discussion on the amendment of the SEC agreement which contains the new possibility of delegating rights to new committees. This will be applied to the upcoming merger in the Mobility business. In the discussion, it was stressed, that the final responsibility and coordination will still remain at the Siemens Europe Committee and that the national processes of information and consultation will remain unchanged.
Birgit Steinborn, the chairwoman of the Central Works Council of Siemens Germany and deputy chairwoman of the Siemens Supervisory Board, gave some information about the current developments and controversies at Siemens. She mentioned the conflict about the announced job cuts in the Power and Gas and the Wind Power divisions and the growing importance of the Siemens Europe Committee caused by the changes in the structure of the company (mergers with Alstom and Gamesa; IPO of “Healthineers”). She emphasized, that a strategy for growth and innovation is needed at Siemens in Europe.
Jürgen Worrich, the chairman of the European Works Council of Schaeffler, gave a greeting speech. He said, that the topics of the European Works Councils of Schaeffler and Siemens are very similar, and described the work of his European Works Council.
Roy Lund (Speaker of the North West Region) and Ferran Navarro (Speaker of the South West Region) gave some information about Siemens Gamesa. The integration process is not going well and there are disturbances especially caused by the Spanish company Iberdrola, which is still a minority shareholder of Siemens Gamesa. The management has ignored its obligation to communicate with the employee representatives about the announced job cuts in time. This mistake has meanwhile been acknowledged and corrected by the management.
Christian Schaller (Speaker of the Central East Region), Roy Lund and Ferran Navarro gave their reports about the work of the regional groups of the SEC. The SEC members worked out the questions to HR for the second day of the meeting in four working groups.
On the second day of the meeting, the representatives of the management joined the meeting. These were: Mrs. Kugel (Head of HR), Mr. Wallisch (HR IE), Mrs. Günther (HR IE LLC), Mr. Mayer (Region Central East), Mr. Soria (Region South West), Mr. Young (Region North West), Mr. Slezak (Siemens Slovakia), Mr. Fernandez Combarro (Siemens Gamesa) and Mr. Poupart-Lafarge (Alstom).
Mr. Slezak gave some information about Siemens in Slovakia.
Mrs. Kugel gave a presentation about the current situation at Siemens. She emphasized the growing importance of the digital business. She also mentioned the ongoing problems in the Power and Gas division and especially at Large Drives in the Process Industries and Drives division. She gave an overview of the vocational training, HR and social activities of Siemens.
The SEC members then discussed various topics with the management representatives. Unfortunately, some issues were left without answers. The SEC leadership will try to collect these answers and distribute them in the next weeks.
There were longer discussions with Mr. Poupart-Lafarge about Siemens Alstom and with Mr. Fernandez Combarro about Siemens Gamesa.
The next meeting of the Siemens Europe Committee will be in Poland on May 28th/29th, 2019.
Report: Dirk Linder