Summary Report AVAP GM 26.3.2015

Summary Report AVAP GM 26.3.2015

The President welcomed almost 60 members, honorary members and guests to the AVAP General Meeting of 26 March 2015, held in the glass room of the Trafo Baden.

Unfortunately one of our honorary members, Boris Berc, passed away on 11 March 2015, shortly before the General Meeting. Boris was a founding member of AVAP and was a very active member of the Executive Board until he retired in 2007, and until the General Meeting of 3 April 2008. A minute's silence was observed to remember him.

In his welcoming remarks, the President addressed four issues that are important for employees.

First topic: The result of the vote for the mass immigration initiative of 49.7% to 50.3%. The consequences are still unclear and implementation poses a big challenge for the Federal Council and ultimately for Parliament. A further referendum may be held. Uncertain conditions pose a problem for companies like Alstom. 

Second topic: The Swiss National Bank has decided to lift the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro. Swissmem sent a press release in this regard on the day of the AVAP GM: According to a member survey, Swissmem confirmed that the MEM industry is concerned about the huge over-valuation of the Swiss franc. In particular, concern was expressed regarding declining margins. Almost a third of the companies surveyed were expecting an operating loss for 2015. Product and process optimisations are at the forefront of the countermeasures. On the other hand, measures that affect employees directly (e.g. wage cuts or increases to working hours) are only being implemented conservatively at present. If the exchange rate remains at the current rate of CHF 1.05/euro, 16% of the MEM companies surveyed intend to move their value chain abroad.

Third topic: Conflicts in industrial relations in the MEM industry. Since the conclusion of the negotiations of the collective agreements in 2013, the trade union UNIA has been running a hate campaign against Angestellte Schweiz. Notably, its representative Corrado Pardini vowed to ruin Angestellte Schweiz. That's not all; he also divided industrial relations with his book "Heavy Metall". He distributed intimate details from the latest collective agreement negotiations – and gravely defamed the members. This conflict is still being fought out at judicial level. As funds from the Solidarity Fund and the Continued Training Fund have been frozen, the case will now be borne by the trade unions. They must partially limit their services. UNIA is currently isolated, as all other industrial relations of the MEM industry have turned their backs on it. We hope that a way in which the important funds can start flowing again will soon be found.

Fourth topic: The GE-Alstom deal is dragging on. The EU Commission's decision to carry out a more in-depth examination means that the deal will be further delayed. The consequence of this for Alstom is that market cultivation will continue to be extremely difficult. If the deal falls through, the consequences may be fatal. However, we can be pleased to note that Baden has received a strong leg to stand on by being allocated two headquarters (Power Service and Coal). The Executive Board will take care of changing the name of our employees' association, as soon as relations become clear.

Following on from the President's introductory remarks, the routine items on the GM agenda were discussed. The Protocol, Annual Report and Annual Financial Statement were unanimously approved. The Auditor's Report was also approved and the Executive Board was informed of the discharge. The President then presented the Annual Programme, and proposed that the membership fee remains unchanged. The Annual Programme and the membership fee form the basis of the budget, which the Treasurer presented, and which was also unanimously approved by the attendees.

As no applications had been made by members or the Executive Board, this agenda item resolved itself. The President took the opportunity to indicate that due to the events relating to industrial relations and the behaviour of the UNIA in particular, the Executive Board is thinking about limiting dual memberships. Members of AVAP should not also be members of other employees' associations. It is therefore fairly likely that the Executive Board will submit a corresponding application at the next GM.

Under the agenda item "Any Other Business", the President pointed out the changes to further training opportunities provided by Angestellte Schweiz, which primarily involve the day courses for personal development becoming in-house courses. This means that the courses will be organised by the member organisation – in our case AVAP – and held for AVAP members. The Executive Board is already working on two courses with Angestellte Schweiz. The publication will follow as soon as preparations are complete. Members will be able to attend the day course free of charge. Another topic is the Angestellte Schweiz campaign – Members Recruit New Members. You can find further information about this on the AVAP homepage. The "avap.talk" events will be continued and are currently being prepared. Information will follow shortly. Finally, the President indicated that the Executive Board is looking for 2-3 committed members to strengthen the Executive Board. Furthermore, new auditors will be elected in the next GM, as the current auditors are leaving. Interested parties should report to the President. The President closed the 14th ordinary GM of the AVAP.

After a short break, Prof. Dr. Kathrin Altwegg gave a very interesting presentation. She is a physicist and astronomer and was the co-initiator of the "Rosetta space probe" project, which landed on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014. It was a fascinating presentation, in which she explained how particles of dust turned into the sun or planets, where the "building blocks" of our solar system come from, and why the sun and planets are so different despite having the same origins, as well as where our earth's organic material, water and oxygen come from.

It was also exciting to learn about the Rosetta project, including the adventurous landing on the comet.

After the presentation, refreshments were served, which were followed by a delicious dinner and an informal get-together.

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