Germany, the Czech Republic, the UK, Austria, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Bulgaria, Greece and Croatia were represented. The elections in the UK and Italy of new delegates have not yet been completed.
In the internal part of the meeting, the SEC delegates elected the chairpersons and the Executive Committee. They also discussed and prepared the second part of the meeting, the discussion with the new head of HR of Siemens and board member, Mrs. Wiese. The IG Metall was represented by Hagen Reimer, who ist also the union advisor of the SEC.
As result of the elections, Harald Kern from Germany was unanimously confirmed as chairman of the SEC. Christian Schaller from Austria and Bettina Haller were unanimously confirmed as deputy chairpersons. Christian Schaller will also be the speaker of the region “Central-/Eastern-Europe”. Ferran Navarro from Spain was unanimously confirmed as member of the Executive Committee and speaker of the region “South-/Western-Europe”. Ron Arndts (Netherlands) was elected as member of the Executive Committee and will also be the speaker of the region “North-/Western-Europe”.
The SEC agreed to move Poland from the region “North-/Western-Europe” to the region “Central-/Eastern-Europe”. It also agreed to postpone the next meeting until October, hoping for an improved situation regarding travel restrictions and other anti-virus measures, that have been taken by the authorities.
Birgit Steinborn, the chairperson of the Works Council of Siemens in Germany and vice-chairperson of the Siemens Supervisory Board, presented her point of view regarding the situation at Siemens and the demands of the employee representatives. She underlined the need for stability at Siemens after many years of restructuring and pointed out, that the employee representatives would support innovation, coherence and social responsibility as objectives of the company. She described co-determination of the employee representatives on international level as necessary. For this, the rights of the European Works Council have to be strengthened.
Harald Kern explained the role and obligations of the SEC delegates. He pointed out the importance of their mandate, which puts them in the position to receive information very often before anybody else in their country.
The SEC delegates discussed the topics they wanted to address in the meeting with the management. Mrs. Wiese, the new head of HR and member of the management board of Siemens, joined the meeting and presented herself. She has been working for 25 years in HR matters and came to Siemens from the Dutch nutrition company DSM.
Mrs. Wiese pointed out the importance of digitalization in every part of the company and also of the social responsibility of Siemens and other big corporations. She sees customer orientation, technology as service, strengthening of the employees and growth by curiosity and openness as strategic priorities at Siemens. For the employees, she wants to focus on resilience, experience, a positive leadership culture, an adaptable organisation and an eco-system of talents.
The SEC delegates addressed the following issues:
- How will the “future of work” look after the corona crisis ? Teleworking has to be regulated.
- There are several problems with the recruitment of workforce which are caused by headcount limitations. This leads to unreasonable forms of employment, especially various kinds of precarious work. The influence of the employee representatives on the handling of this issue is too low.
- The consequences of the announced carve-out of ITS (Intelligent Traffic Systems).
- There are various worries about the future of the employment in Europe, which are intensified by the corona crisis. More relocation of jobs to low-cost countries are expected.
- Psychological stress, work overload and in some cases, office space constraints, are increasing.
- The implementation of new HR tools does not work in the right way.
- The employment conditions are not the same at all Siemens companies. This problem especially occurs at subsidiary companies.
- The issue of gender equity has to be addressed.
- The British representatives expressed their worries about the “Brexit” consequences.
Mrs. Wiese answered the questions of the SEC delegates.
She pointed out, that the handling of the corona crisis at Siemens was positive so far. The company took care of the employees´ safety in a responsible way. She said, that, in the future, teleworking will be an option and an act of confidence in the employees, but nobody will be forced to work from home. She admitted possible effects on office lay-outs.
From her point of view, the size of the workforce hast to match the amount of work. This relation probably has to be improved in some cases.
The SEC delegates had an internal final discussion. Harald Kern announced, that the SEC will start a new project funded by the EU. This will aim at the improvement of the internal cooperation of the SEC delegates and at strengthening their abilities to lead the communication both with management and unions in their home countries. The SEC will nominate deputies of the regional speakers.
(Report: Dirk Linder)