In the conflict over the elimination of thousands of jobs in germany, the metalworkers’ union IG metall is now threatening the siemens group with strikes.
"If the board of management sticks to its plans, we will continue with the means available to us as a union," said supervisory board member and IG metall board member jurgen kerner to the "suddeutsche zeitung" (monday). "Then we would not rule out industrial action, i.E., strikes, as a last resort."New demonstrations are to take place as early as this monday.
The company, on the other hand, is counting on the willingness of employee representatives and works councils to talk to each other. "I hope that the union will move from protest to dialogue and that we can achieve a reconciliation of interests," personnel manager janina kugel told the "tagesspiegel" (saturday). Kerner replied: "we will then negotiate with the siemens management about the closure plans if they are withdrawn. Nothing to discuss beforehand."
Due to poor business in power plant and drive technology, the electronics group wants to cut around 6,900 jobs worldwide, around half of them in germany. Two sites in the saxon cities of gorlitz and leipzig with a total of 920 jobs are to be closed down. Cuts also planned in berlin, offenbach and erfurt.
Head of human resources kugel said siemens wants to reach an agreement with the employees "using the usual instruments. This would include "severance payments, employment companies, further qualification, early retirement, partial retirement". If enough employees are prepared to agree to these voluntary reductions, "then there is no reason to issue redundancy notices".
Birgit steinborn, head of the siemens general works council, had said that the announcement by the management board was "no basis at all for us to negotiate". IG metall accused joe kaeser of a "policy of cutting back". SPD leader martin schulz told the newspaper bild am sonntag: "it is unacceptable that an international corporation that has profited directly and indirectly from the german state for decades now wants to make its employees pay for management mistakes."
Thuringia’s minister president bodo ramelow called on the group’s management to make clear efforts to preserve the thuringia plant. "The erfurt site is excellently positioned and offers the best conditions for the development of alternative business fields," the left-wing politician told the german press agency.
In berlin this monday, employees plan to demonstrate for the preservation of the siemens gas turbine plant. A human chain is planned, in which the governing mayor michael muller (SPD) will also join, in order to "protect the plant from the destruction of 300 jobs announced by siemens," as IG metall announced on sunday. In gorlitz, the protestant church also reacted with displeasure to the announced closure of the siemens plant in the city.
Siemens had already announced that it would forego layoffs if possible – provided agreement could be reached on "voluntary programs. IG metall had then accused siemens of "breach of contract" because the DAX-listed company had not ruled out redundancies for operational reasons, contrary to an agreement reached in 2010.
Personnel director kugel commented on the accusation that this agreement contains an opening clause. According to this, both sides would talk to each other if the structural conditions on the market were different. "That is the case," said kugel. "We didn’t sign a pact for eternity, no one can look into the future."Negotiations have not yet even begun.