The GFG Alliance European Works Council in Europe met for the first time in a three-day online meeting on Tuesday 18 January 2022 with participation of 33 members. On the first day without the participation of management, the EWC elected its chairman, who became one of the seven Liberty Ostrava representatives from the Czech Republic, David Verner. Romanian Liberty Galati Gheorghe Bezman was elected deputy chairman. The next two days of the meeting were devoted to discussions with the management of the group and individual companies and questions and answers.
“Given how long and how carefully we prepared for the first meeting, the approach of the owner of the group, Sanjeev Gupta, who filled his hour with his presentation and then apologized for the next meeting without commenting on most of the questions was a great disappointment to us, and caused a great deal of disillusionment for everyone present,” said David Verner.
The newly established council includes representatives of all GFG Alliance steelworks in the European Union, specifically from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Romania, as well as the United Kingdom, as the council was conceived before Brexit. Representatives of the Macedonia steelworks are also involved, mainly due to information sharing, although it is not part of the EU.
The creation of the European Works Council is based on a commitment of GFG management and employee representatives from 2019, when the company acquired ArcelorMittal’s production units. An agreement on the structure and functioning of the GFG Alliance’s European Works Council in Europe was reached last April, with the first joint meeting being prepared for almost six months. The members of the council were elected by the trade unions of the individual companies.
In his statement, the chairman of the Council expressed the need to focus on accelerating the refinancing of the GFG, ensuring the modernization of production units, promoting employment and improving communication across the GFG group. The content of the statement asked questions which the Council expects to be answered by 31 January. Further meetings of the working groups and the select committee are scheduled for March and will thereafter take place quarterly.