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
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