Rafael “Pepe” Abreu
plant closure while
workers are the last to know
Rafael “Pepe” Abreu is the Executive
Vice President of the Union Confederation (CNUS), he found out that Nestle
is closing a plant in the Dominican Republic when he was taking other steps
at the Labor Department, and he raised the warning voice.
Pepe has a
long standing union background, he has known Rel-UITA from previous
actions in Nestle conflicts and he is outraged by observing this
powerful transnational corporation surreptitiously closing its doors without
consideration for the social cost and with no responsibility for its 136
the information you have about the Nestle Ice Cream Plant?
-A few days
ago there was a rumor that the ice cream plant was considering a possible
closure and relocation, supposedly on the grounds that this plant of the
Dominican Republic is not profitable. Nestle has a history of
relocations from one country to the other, closures and crises, and
Rel-UITA has taken action in some cases. For instance, last year there
was a case of some layoffs and Rel-UITA had to intervene.
Now, we are
facing a disloyal and controversial attitude of this company: a closing
process almost concluded, the Labor Department notified, while the union has
not been even formally informed.
taking some steps in connection with another union dispute, and I came
accross the information that Nestle has already begun a procedure to
lay off 136 workers at the plant, where –perhaps- at the company discretion,
those who live near San Cristobal could be relocated at a plant where
Nestle manufactures some other products.
immediately reported the situation to the Rel-UITA, through
Bernabel Matos, and also the president of the Food Federation (FENTIAHBETA),
Flaudio Tapia. This procedure is not acceptable, and it should not be
tolerated by the Labor Department.
management did not inform the union, this Department should do so.
the union reaction?
will approach the management in order to raise the issue, tell management
they found out, suggest proposals so that not necessarily all workers end up
laid off and the union eventually destroyed.
negotiation with the management does not lead to a successful outcome, the
issue needs to be submitted to the Labor Department in order to find a
solution. This way of acting upon fait accompli, with severance packages and
no negotiation, not considering the resulting loss of employment, and simply
paying a compensation is not enough, it leads to the loss of work positions
and to union destruction.
can be done to stop the closure, it is necessary to find solutions, for
instance to replace outsourced workers of other plants with those of this
plant, attempt a negotiation to somehow save employment..
your assessment of these facts?
this very alarming.
There is a
collective bargaining agreement signed and a commitment towards workers, as
well as legal protection for the union. The company shoud have convened the
union and discussed this issue, particularly at a time when the Dominican
Republic is experiencing such a difficult time --like many other
countries—and with the worrying rise of food and fuel prices, a company like
Nestle, with large profits is about to close. This is unacceptable
- Would you
like to make any additional comment?
considered very important to make this situation known to our brothers and
sisters and also raise a warning voice at the international level.
Rel-UITA and the IUF have the role of helping arouse the interest
of workers of the food sector and the workers of other countries and
regions, while in the Dominican Republic we are confident in this
role, which must be accompanied by the search of solutions at the local
level, already commenced with the initiative of asking for an urgent