All in this together

2 min read

Dear colleagues,

The coronavirus is plunging us into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. Wednesday 15 April, the Belgian Government has extended the confinement measures until 3 May, hinting at a possible extension of some of them until much later in the summer.

As a consequence, a large number of our work sites are still hindered or closed, and we expect that the extension of the measures will keep our productivity far below budget for some time. This means that we are operating under significant financial pressure.

We are working together with all entities of the group to take all necessary steps to relaunch our projects where we can and when we can. This to fight the current losses we are enduring and to restart our economic motor as quickly as possible.

However in the current situation and under the current assumptions, we now need to go beyond the initial cost-savings measures we put in place at the end of March and embark on an austerity plan to protect our business for the long term.

The objective is to align our current costs structure to our current revenues structure and adjust our organization to today’s economic reality. This translates into focusing only on works that are profitable, urgent and/or business-essential today, stopping tasks that do not deliver direct margin and hence, resorting to more unemployment.

Concretely, it means that from Monday 20 April until end of May, only the tasks that are profitable, urgent and/or business-essential today will be executed; all other employees must be place in unemployment. Hiring for positions not directly linked to business-essential activities will be frozen. Salaries among senior management will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent for another two months as a measure of solidarity. Finally, we’ll need to review the necessity of every role going forward as part of these efforts.

We have presented this communication to our social partners this Friday morning.

You will find this explained on this intranet page, together with a detailed Q&A. Your General Managers and Heads of Department have also been informed and are committed to support you for further explanations as well.

We never imagined we’d write anything like this. We deeply regret these actions have become necessary. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of all of you and anticipate working together again when the economy fully restarts. Rest assured that we will do everything necessary to help you and our company through these difficult times: we are truly united in this fight.

Rik Vandenberghe

Geert Aelbrecht
Chief People Officer BESIX Group