While the consultation between union and management seems to be deadlocked at Engie Electrabel, the CSC building – industry and energy has decided to organize strike actions in all the group’s companies in the coming weeks, starting this Wednesday. at the company’s headquarters, Gare du Nord in Brussels.
For about two weeks, the unions have been negotiating with the management of Engie Electrabel in order to review “the draconian measures which resulted in the dismissal of 16 employees for serious misconduct and inflicted severe penalties on 39 other employees due to irregularities in customer and sales service”, says the Christian union.
These sanctions followed the dismissals of employees who would have extended fixed contracts in favor of some of their colleagues and this, after the deadline set by the management.
“The recommendation of the social mediator nevertheless offered the possibility of restoring confidence”
For the unions, the approach of the management of Engie arouses incomprehension. “Mistakes have been made, but it’s a matter of shared responsibility,” says Ben Bellekens, regional secretary of the CSC building – industry & energy. He asserts that there are many exceptions to the prohibition of open-ended contracts and a “multitude of work processes and communications” which led to confusion among customer service and sales staff.
Over the past two weeks, the CSC indicates that work stoppages have taken place in customer services in Ghent, Namur and Gosselies. The CSC further states that the unions asked a social mediator to intervene but the management, still according to the workers’ representatives, rejected his recommendations.
“Management seems to be opting for a strategy of confrontation and wanting to avoid any solution to this conflict. The recommendation of the social mediator, however, offered the possibility of restoring confidence among staff and restoring social peace”, emphasizes Ben Bellekens.
Faced with this blockage, the union has already started a first strike action at the headquarters of Engie Electrabel at the Gare du Nord in Brussels this Wednesday at 07:00. Some 80 activists have set up a strike picket, according to Mr. Bellelens. The CSC also announces other actions in the coming weeks if the consultation remains deadlocked. The socialist FGTB and liberal CGSLB unions support the actions.