In response to the position of three Representative Trade Union Organizations (RTUOs) (out of 65 trade unions operating in JSW) published by the media rejecting the salary raises for employees announced by the JSW Management Board as of 1 July 2021, the Management Board of JSW SA emphasizes that this position shows the representative organizations’ lack of care for actual improvement in the salary conditions of JSW’s staff. It reflects a lack of understanding and support for the key factor in keeping the jobs and wages being the economic standing of the whole Group and the climate surrounding it.
Other trade union organizations operating in JSW do not support the opinion of the RTUOs. During a recent online meeting (held on 7 June 2021), to which all 65 of JSW’s trade unions were traditionally invited, most representatives of the social partner agreed with the solutions proposed by the Management Board. The social partner received information and precise calculations depicting the financial condition of the Company, its liabilities and its current capabilities.
As a result, the Company’s Management Board categorically and negatively views the attitude taken a handful of individuals who previously proposed a raise of 4% and now propose 6% plus additional supplementary wages. These persons through their premeditated actions have put 22,000 JSW employees at risk of losing their jobs by driving the Company into bankruptcy through their unrealistic demands that cannot be satisfied and by striving to cause a dispute. This escalation of demands seems to be driven solely by the desire to stir unrest among honest and hard working staff members.
The overriding goal of the JSW Management Board is to secure employment for 22,000 employees for years to come, rebuild the stabilization fund and secure funds to pay down previous loans, including the loans taken out under support programs during the corona crisis, among others from the Polish Development Fund, but also for ongoing investments.
To show its care for the employees the Management Board awarded 10-year employment guarantees and a pay raise of 3.4% as of 1 July. “Despite the objection raised by the representative trade union organizations and their rejection of the raises the entire staff deserve, I would like to inform you that the salary raises to be phased in as of July 1 will be paid to the JSW employees. That is what the Management Board has decided”, points out Barbara Piontek, CEO of JSW. “Caring for employees, their well-being, pay and occupational safety, especially in these challenging times of Covid is our top priority. Today, we treat our employees as an investment and we will pursue that investment to the extent permitted by the Company’s financial standing”, she adds.
Today, no responsible JSW employee supports or will support a solution that, following a one-time payment, would bankrupt the Company and make 22 thousand employees and their families lose their jobs just because a few individuals are using their functions to conduct a “crusade”. Even a slight upward movement in coal prices is enough for new demands to be put forward and the individuals raising them seem to forget about the loans previously taken out by the Company, the capital expenditures being carried out, the pandemic situation and the need to rebuild reserves for employees.
Such behavior is ethically reprehensible, especially now that the economy is recovering from the difficult period of the pandemic. During this period many Poles faced the risk of losing their jobs, gave up their bonuses or agreed to pay cuts just to survive and be able to keep their job in the future. This attitude of entitlement is also unethical towards Poland and the Polish State, which launched the “shield” programs, granting loans to save companies and jobs. JSW has also taken advantage of this “aid shield”. The Management Board believes that an attitude aiming at driving the Company into bankruptcy is immoral and reprehensible.
The JSW Management Board is open to social dialogue and pursues it with the utmost diligence. However, the Management Board also believes that the unrealistic demands raised by the above group, the lack of responsibility, stirring up unrest and openly pushing towards a conflict to satisfy particular interests at the expense of the staff does not constitute such a dialogue.