Different pay above collective labor agreements at Kemira
27 August 2020
The structural wage increases that we agree on in the Kemira Collective Labor Agreement do not apply to higher-level collective labor agreements. Kemira's 5-by-5 Pay for Performance (PfP) matrix applies to higher collective labor agreements. This remuneration depends on the relative salary position you have in your salary scale and on your assessment. In many cells in the current PfP matrix, the CPI (indexation cost of living) is part of the salary increase that you receive.
A few months ago, Kemira's headquarters indicated that it wanted to change the PfP matrices in the different countries. In this newsletter you can read more about the changes in the PfP matrix.
Change in the PfP matrix
Kemira indicated that in countries where it is not legally required to allow the indexation of the cost of living to be reflected in the salaries of employees, he wanted to reduce the PfP matrix. The Netherlands does not have this legal obligation. The idea was to get the CPI out of PfP.
In the Netherlands, such a change does require the consent of the works council. Kemira Rotterdam has therefore submitted a request for consent to the Works Council. The Works Council thought the proposed austerity would go very far. She has therefore negotiated with Kemira Rotterdam about a better interpretation of the new PfP matrix.
At the end of May 2020, this topic crossed the path of our executives, Paul Leen and Dennis Herrewijnen. Because De Unie Kemira has many higher-level collective labor agreements as members, they asked our representative how De Unie looks at this topic.
Point of view De Unie
Indexing the employment conditions as a result of an increase in the cost of living is indeed not regulated by law in the Netherlands. But what is not allowed in the Netherlands, is that an employer unilaterally changes the terms of employment. The question was whether this is the case in this case.
On July 15, 2020, the Works Council and De Unie discussed the proposed change to the PfP matrix. It then became clear that the Works Council had not yet returned a final judgment to the employer about the request for consent to change the PfP matrix. We agreed that De Unie legally investigate whether there is a change in terms of employment or not. Until then, the works council would not process the request for consent further. Of course I have informed the employer which appointment De Unie and the Works Council together.
After July 15, the advocate saw and reviewed a few employment contracts through Paul and Dennis. In it, the PfP matrix is not explicitly described as an employment condition. However, a reference to the Kemira Rotterdam personnel manual has been seen in the employment contracts. However, the PfP matrix is not explicitly included in the employee handbook. Also inquiries with the HR department did not lead to a unanimous judgment on this.
The representative therefore has an employment lawyer from De Unie asked for his opinion. According to him, the legal basis for designating the PfP matrix as an employment condition is too thin. Kemira can therefore change the content of the PfP matrix after approval by the Works Council.
De Unie has informed the Works Council of this. We did, however, advise the Works Council to plead with the employer for more clarity and to include the new PfP matrix in the employee handbook.
The Works Council will inform the employees of its opinion on the request for consent, as of when the new PfP matrix takes effect and whether the PfP matrix will be included in the personnel manual from now on.
Questions or remarks?
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