It is time for a regular and trustful social dialogue at StarTransmission Cugir!

At a seminar hosted by ICA trade union Romania - an affiliate of IndustriALL-BNS, together with industriAll Europe, IndustriALL Global Union and IG Metall, workers at StarTransmission sought to develop ways to improve communication between members of the union and representatives of the company.

The aim of the seminar was to lay the foundations for trust-based collective bargaining backed by a committed and strong local trade union. The negotiations will start at the beginning of next year.

The start of labour relations in the Daimler subsidiary was bumpy, to say the least. After much perseverance in Romania on the part of the workforce and their elected trade union representatives, and thanks to helpful mediation talks in Germany, elsewhere in Europe and globally, what was achieved at this seminar can now be seen as the start of a new era.

The ICA union also invited non-unionised workers to the seminar, nominated by the management. The seminar took place outside the company premises in the Cugir Cultural Centre. This allowed participants to talk more openly - in a neutral and protected environment.

Workers agreed that there is a lack of social dialogue structure at StarTransmission. Problems of everyday working life are insufficiently discussed during individual talks, and without any binding results for either side. Workers also mentioned issues of occupational health and safety, which in some production centres do not always meet Daimler’s standards. When raising their concerns, workers often receive disrespectful comments from their heads of division.

Time off for trade union work, which is regulated in a very bureaucratic way in the current collective agreement, excludes the trade union chairperson, which is unsatisfactory for everyone. There are no regular meetings between the union and management and the management takes decisions that affect everyone without consulting the union. There is also no transparency and processes are unclear. All these factors have a profoundly negative impact on the productivity of the company as well as the health of the workers.

During role play exercises that took place at the seminar, participants were able to practice goal-oriented communication and put themselves in the shoes of the other side by changing roles. Union members demonstrated that they are very aware that workers and management have different interests and that reconciliation of interests needs to be negotiated in a fair dialogue with a binding agreement. As one participant said, "We are not enemies - we just want our rights and a fair share of the value that we generate.”

The company representatives acknowledged existing communication gaps and expressed confidence for an improved dialogue and collective bargaining in the future.

The seminar is part of a series of meetings and seminars through which industriAll Europe, together with industriALL Global and IG Metall, are supporting workers at STC in solidarity. Due to the pandemic, the kick-off event had taken place in a hybrid format, but this month it was possible to work directly with the participants, in compliance with hygiene regulations.

Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe, said:

“It is time for a regular and trustful social dialogue at StarTransmission Cugir! The parties should now agree on the terms of their relationship in a binding collective agreement, which defines with whom, how, when and on which topics information, consultation and codetermination takes place. The workers and their representatives are ready to negotiate this and industriAll Europe continues to stand with them.”

Contact: Ildikó Krén (Strategic Organiser)