The Bureau discussed developments of SITA in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is bidding with another company (Delta) for a waste incinerator (AVR). Realising that it is just a bid, nonetheless the Bureau took the position that representatives of the appropriate management should have informed on the strategic importance of the bid for Suez, and of the possible longer-term consequences for the workers. Only in that case would it have been possible for management to take its opinion into account. As management was not in a position to provide information, the meeting was suspended.
The Bureau met 15-16 December, Paris. In its preparatory meeting it discussed a large number of issues:
- Progress on take-over bid of Suez on Electrabel Suez now holds more then 98% of the shares.
- Members of the Health and Safety Committee reported back on the last meeting of the Steering Committee. The number of fatal accidents is very high especially in outsourced services. EWC representatives asked for this to be studied and a response is outstanding. Management has committed to better information on the accidents. It will also be possible to establish health and safety committees in the three activities (water, waste, energy). Health and safety training courses will be open to workplace representatives. These courses are organised in each country, There will also be an intensification of control, and an increase in unexpected inspection visits.
- A report was given on the work of the Equality Committee which had presented a proposal on how to improve equality in the company. No follow up is given by management yet. Further discussion is foreseen.
- A presentation on the European Company was given to the plenary meeting of the EWC in Budapest. Information from different resources indicate that the process of creating a European Company for Suez will include principally the energy activities through a process of merger. Management has not taken a decision it was said.
- First Class. All members of the EWC have received training in this tool to communicate better. There are technical problems encountered that need to be solved by management to ensure all members have access.
- Suez Energy Services. This is a new activity that brings together different companies with energy services in Suez such as Fabricom, GTI and Axima. There should not be a direct impact on employment. The EWC has established a committee to follow this development. It will meet 3 times a year and will use the EWC financial expert to consider the consequences of the strategy for employment. Members come from the Bureau of the Suez energy committee/ Tractebel EWC, a representative of the Bureau EWC Suez and 6 representatives from energy services from different countries.
- Shared Services Centres. There is much unrest among workers on the establishment of these centres which bring together administrative, ICT and other so-called back-office functions at a central place. Management has indicated that these services will not be outsourced and delocalised. There are negative implications for the work force. Management is using specific cases to generalise and pressure workers to obtain similar results. An example is restructuring in GTI Holland which arises from a local situation and for which the trade unions have concluded a social plan. Jobs will be lost in the head office up till 50%. Central management argues that these developments are part of the SSC and seeks unions to convince of a more conciliatory position arguing that losses are less in their case and that other unions are more reasonable. The Bureau will write to management to challenge the disinformation.
- Planning 2006. The preparatory meeting will take place 21 June, and the plenary 18 or 25 October. Meetings of the Bureau, the health and safety steering committee, the diversity and training work group were equally planned.
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