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Trade unions start network at building materials multinational CRH


Some 30 union representatives and activists from all over Europe came to Dublin, Ireland, on 26 and 27 March 2019, and formed a trade union network to improve social dialogue at the Irish building materials and cement multinational company, CRH. Global unions IndustriALL and Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) also participated.

The trade union network will aim to better the work and status of the CRH European Works Council (EWC) known as “Euroforum” and increase communication between unions. The Irish company is now one of the top players in cement and construction materials industries.

IndustriALL’s Irish affiliate union SIPTU hosted the meeting, which was organized by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW). Participants defined a number of issues at the company, but especially in the Euroforum. The participants want to fix these shortcomings.

Participants adopted a joint statement in English, French, Polish, Romanian, Dutch, German indicating their proposals and demands to CRH management and future activities in the network. 

In their statement the European trade unions said:

“EFBWW requires the CRH group to respect European Union legislation and to take the appropriate steps to restore mutual trust and social dialogue. The EFBWW invites management to discuss a renewed social partnership. A first and important step would be to clarify the election/designation processes of the current and future members for the countries involved in the EWC. The EFBWW points out that this should be done according to national transposition law.”

The workers’ representatives also selected a steering committee for the trade union network, which will coordinate the network activities and serve as a link between themselves, non-European trade unions and global unions.

IndustriALL director for mechanical engineering and materials industries, Matthias Hartwich, commented:

“I was glad to see how committed the European trade unions and works councils are when it comes to improve dialogue with CRH. I promise that IndustriALL Global Union will do its best to get the non-European trade unions on board. Already next week, we will have the chance to inform the North America Cement Network about the progress being made here. I believe we will have good cooperation between European unions and the unions outside Europe where CRH operates.”

CRH group was born from a merger in 1970 of two leading Irish public companies, Cement Limited (established in 1936) and Roadstone, Limited (1949). For long time the group was the sole producer of cement and the principal producer of aggregates, concrete products and asphalt with 95 per cent of its sales in Ireland. CRH is now one of the top ten world’s construction materials companies operating in 32 countries and employing over 90,000 workers at around 3,700 locations of the world.

The company sales in 2018 reached €26.8 billion. The Group’s major businesses are located in Europe and North America, and it has a growing presence in Asia and South America.


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