UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union condemn Kimberly-Clark’s lack of respect for workers
Following a global trade union meeting the leading paper and graphical unions from around the world publically condemn the current unacceptable behaviour of Kimberly-Clark towards its workers worldwide.
Despite consistently branding itself as a family company, Kimberly-Clark is developing more of a reputation as an anti-union, anti-worker employer. The irresponsible announcement from the company in January 2018 that over 5,000 jobs would be cut from its global staff over the next three years means all Kimberly-Clark employees, their families and communities, are worried for their future.
Local management in different regions now uses the threat of plant closure to try to push through concessions in bargaining.
At Kimberly-Clark’s Millicent mill in South Australia, 265 CFMEU members took rolling industrial action challenging the constant threat of mill closure and job losses.
The Company has also used heavy-handed tactics and the threat of closure in negotiations at a profitable flagship plant in Wisconsin, USA.
In Europe, the lack of consultation with unions is in fact illegal under European law, as it contradicts the European Works Council Agreement, unions have political recourse available through the German courts. Unions have not yet opted to open this case. Unions in Europe and throughout Kimberly-Clark’s operations must urgently be informed and consulted on the company’s restructuring plan.
This behaviour is an attack on modern labour relations. Ultimately the treatment of employees will spill over to the company’s iconic brands and the global labour movement is united in calling on Kimberly-Clark to begin an honest dialogue with its global trade union partners to meet to resolve the expanding controversy about the company’s lack of authentic consultation and heavy-handed tactics.
Following a 6 March meeting at Kimberly-Clark’s Atlanta headquarters, the unions made a written proposal of a structured dialogue before any restructuring takes place, as was agreed in the meeting. We stand by that proposal and urge the company to agree and implement the dialogue urgently.
The IndustriALL Global Union Pulp and Paper Work Group, and the UNI Global Union Graphical and Packaging Sector resolve to prepare a global campaign at Kimberly-Clark to be launched if the company continues its hostile union relations, refuses to consult workers on its restructuring plan, and continues its threat of mass dismissals. Kimberly-Clark is turning its back on dedicated employees in North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as Australia. This is not a sustainable business model, jeopardising the company’s FSC certification, while damaging the high-quality family brand that has been built up over decades.