For the first time ever, Siemens Italy has terminated a union agreement, whose rules and financial contents applied to at least half of the workers employed by Siemens in Italy. Employee representatives and unions report an increasingly important struggle:
We, workers representatives together with the unions, have tried to discuss the issue with the Siemens management to find an alternative solution. But the Human Resources managers, on behalf of the Siemens sector leads, have dismissed our proposals and declared the negotiation closed. Starting from February 17th the agreement that have regulated for over 30 years Siemens workers’ conditions during business travel (e.g. field service at customer sites) will cease to exist.
Siemens workers in Italy have begun to ask themselves what scenario could emerge if the Siemens management started considering straightforward and problem-free to cancel agreements that were previously negotiated and that regulate important working and economic conditions for Siemens workers.
What could happen to the agreement that regulates our working hours? And to the paid employment permits? And to the economic agreement on the 14th monthly salary, which is itself part of labour-management contract?
The decision taken by the Siemens management in Italy is extremely serious and dangerous! They started by cancelling a negotiated agreement about the travel costs and per diem for business trips, which affects many Siemens employees, but future decisions could even affect the entire workforce!
The second week of January, workers assemblies were held in all Siemens locations and workers proposed and discussed actions to undertake in order to show to the Siemens management that we totally disagree with their approach and that for us workers labour-management agreements are extremely important. The key message that came out of the workers’ assemblies is that we do not intend to give up that easily the right to be an active part in the definition of our working conditions!
Siemens workers approved a series of protest actions, starting with 20 hours of strike for all Siemens employees and the stop of overtime hours and any work activities outside the normal working schedule, including the participation to trade shows and workshops on weekends.
The first strike wave of 10 hours was held on Friday January 17th and Monday 20th with a massive workers’ participation. On Monday morning journalists witnessed the protest in front of the entrance of the Milan office and the national public broadcasting company (RAI) aired a report on the Siemens workers’ protests.
The message is very clear: Siemens workers in Italy are unwilling to give up their rights and more protest actions are planned and will be carried out if the Siemens management in Italy will not reopen the negotiating table with the workers’ and unions representatives!
Milano, January 21st 2014 Coordinamento sindacale Siemens e FIM, FIOM, UILM