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Nestlé’s intransigence


On September 9, the National Sole Union of Workers of Nestlé Peru (SUNTRANEP) presented an indefinite strike notice to the company, filing it with the Ministry of Labor the next day. If the company fails to give a solution to the workers’ demands, the strike will begin on September 23.


In December of last year, the union presented a list of demands to the company and to the Ministry of Labor, and negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement began in January of this year. After 16 meetings without reaching an agreement, the parties entered the conciliation stage. In this instance too, Nestlé’s management continued in its refusal to show any true intention to negotiate, exhibiting an intransigent position, in particular with respect to wages and the term of the new agreement. Sirel spoke with Alexander Caballero, general secretary of SUNTRANEP, who commented on the steps of this drawn-out negotiation that now appears to be heading towards a strike.


-What are the most conflictive issues in the bargaining?

-From the start there was no agreement on the issue of wage increase. The union initially asked for a 13 percent increase with respect to the average base salary, and this proposal had to be changed over these past months of negotiations. At present, the union is demanding a wage increase that is based only on the annual inflation registered in 2007, which was approximately 4 percent, and even so, the company refuses to sign. Moreover, as workers we insist that the Agreement must have a term of validity of one year, due to the ups and downs of the country’s economy, but the company won’t budge from its position of a two-year term.


-Last Friday, the Ministry of Labor summoned the parties to a meeting. What happened at that meeting?

-Nothing, because the company presented some justification for not appearing; so we’re back to square one.


-What do you think of this attitude?

-I think this is a huge offense. Nestlé is one of those companies that are only out to destroy unions.


-What actions did you take afterwards?

-The day after this failed meeting (August 30), the union held an Assembly. There the union’s bargaining committee gave us a step-by-step account of the negotiation process. By a large majority of votes, the Assembly resolved to declare a strike starting on September 23.



From Montevideo, Amalia Antúnez


September 12, 2008




Foto: Julia Vicuña Yacarine

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