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With Neuza Barbosa de Lima

Working in unity with
concrete proposals



On March 3 and 4, the III International Meeting of Unilever Workers was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. SIREL took the opportunity to speak with the Vice President of the IUF’s Latin American Executive Committee and Secretary of Education of the Federation of Food Industry Workers of Sao Paulo (FETIASP).


-How do you see this Meeting?

-This Third Meeting is the result of a very important strategic process that Rel-UITA is carrying out to coordinate the actions of trade unions that represent transnational corporation workers, joining them in Latin American Federations. This constitutes an unprecedented effort in the history of the labor movement in our region.


I think that today we have taken a great step towards forming a federation that groups all the organizations that represent the workers of this transnational corporation. Over these two days of work we’ve made great progress in the construction of a space for joint action in Brazil.


Our Regional Office in Latin America has been gaining strength through political actions that involve strategic changes in trade union structure. I think that this is the general flag we need to raise, in order to become stronger and counter our organization to transnational corporations. Only by working together, with clear aims and specific proposals, rising above the different political options of each organization and maintaining the unity of the labor movement, will we be able to really stand up to these global companies.


Never has the old maxim “Workers of the world, unite!” rang truer.


-Why is the number of women employed dropping dramatically in the working world?

-We know that in times of crisis the most vulnerable jobs are always those of women and young workers, and now there’s an additional element, which is that people over 40 are also being included among the first to be laid off.


Companies are building a mass of 25 to 40 year-old male workers. This is also a way of shaping society. Despite much talk of social responsibility, corporations forget that women are the bearers of life and as such play a key and very noble role in society, and that that should not be cause of their discrimination. We must demand that employment be redirected so that we may recover a space for working women that is at the same time a space for them to fully exercise their rights as citizens.


An argument used against women as workers is that they are not free to put in overtime or attend training courses, but this argument ignores the fact that many women are also heads of households, and in terms of social responsibility that is something that must not be overlooked.


From Sao Paulo, Carlos Amorín
March 19, 2009






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