On May 28th/29th 2019, employee representatives from Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Slovakia, Croatia, Finland, Bulgaria and Greece met in Warsaw for the annual meeting of the Siemens Europe Committee (SEC).
The main issue of the meeting was, of course, the announced spin-off of the power business from Siemens. This will affect many European countries. The representatives from Germany, especially Birgit Steinborn and Harald Kern, who were involved in the Siemens Supervisory Board´s decision to split off the power business explained the background of the whole subject.
The problems in the energy business have been persisting for years and are a general issue, also concerning other companies like, for example, General Electric. The solution that now has been found at Siemens, secures important union rights and agreements at the new company and gives the chance to develop an independent enterprise in the energy sector.
The union cooperation between the representatives of Siemens and the new company will be continued.
Several representatives expressed their concerns about the split-off of the power business from Siemens, especially because of the effect on the whole Siemens organisation. In some countries, Siemens will be reduced to remain as a quite small company.
There is also a lot of criticism about the ongoing unsafety at the company.
Wladisław Michałowicz, the employee representative from Siemens in Poland, gave some information about the situation at Siemens in Poland. He mentioned, that Siemens employs more than 300 workers in Poland who are excluded from the usual Siemens gratifications and working conditions.
Harald Kern, the SEC Chairman, gave a report of the meetings with the union representatives from Alstom, that had taken place in order to prepare the formation of a new European body of representation in the case of the merger of Siemens Mobility and Alstom. This merger was in the end stopped by the European Commission.
The SEC unanimously agreed to these changes in the SEC agreement:
- The protection of the SEC members will be strengthened in the agreement.
- The number of employees for each SEC mandate will be changed for Germany to allow a representation from Germany of all business sectors of Siemens in the SEC.
The SEC also agreed to mandate the Executive Committee of the SEC to change the SEC agreement if the UK should leave the European Union, so that the UK will then still be represented in the SEC.
The SEC agreed to expand the SEC working group for Siemens-Gamesa.
On the second day of the meeting, Mrs. Kugel and her HR team joined to respond to the questions of the SEC members. Additionally, Mrs. Bettman, the CEO of Siemens Poland, gave some information about the Siemens activities in Poland, Mr. Peter talked about Siemens Mobility and Mr. Helfrich and Mrs. Gorla informed about “Digital Industries”.
Mrs. Kugel gave an overview of the situation and the development of the company. She then answered the questions of the SEC. The SEC representatives criticised the announced job cuts at “Digital Industries”. These are surprising respectively not understandable for many representatives. The management agreed to explain the announcements to the local employee representations and to discuss the measures with them.
At the end of the meeting, the SEC agreed to focus on the qualification of the SEC members in the future. The re-election of the SEC, which is necessary in next year, has to planned carefully, because of the big change in the company that has been announced.
The SEC meeting in 2020 will take place in Germany.
(Report: Dirk Linder)