“We say NO to the restructuring plan and to the 6 500 job cuts in Europe. We say YES to a genuine industrial strategy by General Electric which will ensure the future of its activities and workers in Europe”

Today’s transnational mobilisation is the culmination of a series of decentralised actions which have been taking place at most of the GE affected sites throughout Europe since the announcement of the restructuring plan in January. This Friday, simultaneous protest actions are taking place at the GE headquarters in Paris and at more than 40 local sites in Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

Even from across the Atlantic, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) trade union “sends its full support and solidarity to the justifiable fight being waged by European workers and their unions”. 

In Paris, thousands of GE workers and trade unions are standing before the GE headquarters to make their demands heard loud and clear. 

“This united and coordinated action by the industriAll European Trade Union affiliates is the first of its kind at General Electric. Workers are mobilised throughout Europe to fight for their jobs, for now and in the future. We firmly reject the idea that industrial capacities which are vital for Europe, especially in the energy sector, be jeopardised due to GE management’s lack of industrial outlook. And we are concerned about the fate that awaits other strategic sectors such as GE Aviation and GE Healthcare”, says Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe Deputy General Secretary. 

French organisations stress the inconsistency of GE management’s shareholder-value driven strategy and criticise what would appear to be so-called 'stock market redundancies'. “We cannot tolerate that GE continues to put workers and their working conditions under pressure while generating 26 billion dollars for its shareholders in 2015”, states Frédéric Sanchez, FTM-CGT General Secretary. “General Electric, whilst seeking to achieve a two-digit operational profitability in the short term is, in fact, shooting itself in the foot, and is unlikely to have the necessary resources and tools to face the future and the expansion of the global energy sector”, affirms Gabriel Artero, President of CFE-CGC Métallurgie. “GE workers demand that a genuine debate take place on the Group’s strategy!” declares Philippe Portier, General Secretary of FGMM-CFDT, expecting that concrete answers be provided to the growing concerns. “How will GE keep its promises to create jobs without any real strategy, without any sound industrial plan?”, questioned Eric Keller, Federal Secretary, FO Métaux. 

Kai Müller, Chairman of ex-Alstom Power European Works Council (IRS), condemns the lack of respect for workers’ information and consultation rights. “Since January 12th, the European Works Council has already met no less than 26 times and yet, because of the management’s approach to it, the consultation phase at European level is only about to start”. We thus urge GE central and local management to comply with both their European and national obligations to inform and consult workers prior to any final decision being taken. A genuine social dialogue is the prerequisite for finding socially acceptable solutions for all given that, as Wolfgang Lemb, IG Metall’s executive board member, stresses, “the consequences of such massive job cuts would be felt not just by GE workers, but also by their families, suppliers and everyone else that is connected to GE activities in the various cities and regions”.  

Other trade union delegations present in Paris (from Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium…) alongside the French and German organisations, express and share the same common demands, illustrating the transnational solidarity of GE workers!

“We say NO to the restructuring plan and to the 6 500 job cuts in Europe. We say YES to a genuine industrial strategy by General Electric which will ensure the future of its activities and workers in Europe”, concludes Luc Triangle. 

The workers and trade unions’ delegation expects clear answers from GE management at the meeting to take place at 3 p.m. at GE’s premises. 

Overview of actions by countries

Declaration in English, Deutsch, Français. 

Press release in English, Deutsch, Français. 

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