Collective agreement for service companies is an important contribution to improving competitiveness
Decisive step toward the “new BIS”
Leverkusen – The Executive Committee of Bayer Industry Services (BIS) warmly welcomes the successful conclusion of negotiations between the Bayer employers’ and employees’ representatives and the Mine, Chemical and Power Workers’ Union (IGBCE) on a new collective bargaining agreement for the service companies BIS and Bayer Business Services (BBS).
“The new collective agreement for service companies reflects the specific nature of the environment in which we render our services as a chemical park operator. We firmly believe that this agreement will contribute to improving the competitiveness of BIS and thus to safeguarding jobs,” commented BIS Executive Board Chairman Dr. Klaus Schäfer. “Our goal is to evolve BIS into an even more efficient chemical park manager and operator. This flexible collective bargaining agreement, combined with action already taken or to be taken and a leaner structure, enables us to go forward with confidence. We aim to become Europe’s most cost-efficient chemical park operator,” declared Schäfer.
“These were complex and difficult negotiations,“ commented BIS Labor Director Dr. Joachim Waldi. “The two sides – employers and employees – moved toward each other step by step and displayed a willingness to compromise. I am convinced we have found a good solution.”
The agreement comes into force on July 1, 2007, subject to the approval of the relevant bodies. With respect to BIS, the negotiating parties agreed on the following:
• A new scale of pay grades will apply to all employees covered by the collective agreement. Employees’ current monthly pay will not be reduced but will remain at the present level. In order to achieve the necessary savings in uncompetitive units of the company, future pay increases will not apply to employees in these units until their pay has thereby been reduced to certain defined levels in relation to the standard BIS pay levels. Rates of pay will be calculated mainly on the basis of a comparison with equivalent units in competing companies.
• Weekly working time for all employees will be increased by two-and-a-half hours to 40 hours without any increase in pay. In two units, in view of existing overcapacities, a 35-hour week will be introduced with a proportionate reduction in pay.
• The Technical Services business unit, which employs some 1,400 people, will be carved out at the earliest opportunity into a limited liability company which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of BIS. As a separate legal entity, the unit will be able to achieve maximum focus on the specific requirements of the maintenance business.
• The planned divestitures of parts of the company will not take place before the end of 2010.
• To safeguard employment at BIS, dismissals for operational reasons are precluded until the end of 2008.
Added Labor Director Waldi: “The collective agreement for service companies is a major step toward solving our problems. But in order to achieve the necessary EUR 125 million in annual savings by 2009 and implement crucial structural changes, BIS will continue to work on the key points of the strategy project.”
The strategy project, initiated in April 2006 with the aim of realigning the company, assessed the economic efficiency of the services provided by all business unit segments and their strategic importance for the business model of the chemical park operator. Summarizing the necessary changes, Dr. Schäfer said: “We have to become faster, leaner and more efficient. And we can only do that by simplifying existing processes, optimizing our organizational structure and at the same time containing costs.”
He explained that this will ultimately be to everyone’s benefit, because it will make the chemical park network decidedly more attractive – not only to customers but to potential investors, too. ”Our services help our customers to withstand the ever-increasing rigors of international competition. In this way we create job security at BIS and for the approximately 50,000 employees at the three chemical park sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen.”
It is planned to save further substantial sums through efficiency enhancements and cost discipline in all units, such as Utility Services and Environmental Services. There is a particular need for adjustments in administrative departments, where costs have to be reduced by EUR 30 million, or roughly one third. The potential in the units concerned has already been identified and is in most cases already being implemented.
It is intended to eliminate about another 300 positions by 2009 in addition to the severance and pre-retirement part-time working agreements already concluded. This reduction in employment is to be achieved in a socially responsible manner through severance agreements and natural attrition. In addition, a job center will be established that will arrange retraining opportunities for employees and help them to find new jobs.
The Executive Board also announced a corporate reorganization and a renaming of the company: “In this way we will more clearly define responsibilities, creating flatter hierarchies and shorter decision-making paths. As an expression of the company’s realignment and independence, BIS will also be given a new name and new branding this fall.” Following a period of orientation, this is intended to help employees identify more closely with the company and at the same time demonstrate to the outside world its transformation into a customer-oriented service provider.
A joint venture between Bayer AG and Lanxess AG, Bayer Industry Services (BIS) is the operator of the Bayer chemical parks in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen. In addition to Bayer AG’s three operating subgroups and Lanxess AG, more than 60 manufacturing and service companies enjoy the benefits of being located in Germany’s largest chemical park network. With around 5,700 employees, BIS provides ideal conditions for business with a variety of integrated product networks and a comprehensive service portfolio. These include environmental services, logistics and technical services, environmental protection and safety, utilities, waste management, analytics and vocational training. BIS also offers some of these services to customers outside of the chemical parks.
Additional information about BIS and the Bayer Chemical Parks is available at www.bayerindustry.co
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