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Workers union expresses concern over LafargeHolcim merger

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World Cement,

GMB, the union for workers in building material, expressed concern over the potential 15 – 16 month wait for workers while competition issues related to the merger of Lafarge and Holcim are resolved in the UK, saying that a cloud of uncertainty would be hanging over the 10 000 workers employed by the two companies.

Holcim trades in the UK as Aggregate Industries and employs 3500 workers. Lafarge Tarmac employs 7000 workers in over 300 locations across the UK. GMB members produce 40 million t of aggregate and 7 million t of asphalt a year at more than 70 production plants and over 100 quarries in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They produce 4 million t of cement at Aberthaw (South Glamorgan), Cauldon (Staffordshire), Cookstown (Co. Tyrone), Dunbar (East Lothian) and Tunstead (Derbyshire). They have ready mixed concrete plants all across the UK.

Allan Black, GMB National Officer, said: “The competition authorities are bound to take a fairly severe view of this merger. They will almost certainly be told to sell some assets.

This isn’t going to be resolved until next year, which means there’s going to be a period of 15-16 months of uncertainty hanging over the employees of both companies.

GMB will be seeking talks with both companies on what they plan and what parts of their operations they will sell. We will be seeking assurances on jobs and terms and conditions of employment.”

Talking to reporters earlier this week, Bruno Lafont, Lafarge CEO, said that job losses would be ‘limited’. There has been no indication thus far of which assets would be sold, but given the recent history of the Competition Commission in the UK and the fact that Lafarge had already been instructed to sell one cement plant prior to the announcement of the merger, further sales within the UK are thought likely.

Adapted from press release by

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