At the Third International
Meeting of Unilever workers, held March 3 and 4
in Sao Paulo,
spoke with Siderlei Silva de Oliveira, President
of the National Confederation of Food Workers
(CONTAC) and member of the Latin American
Executive Committee of the IUF.
-What can you tell us about the results of this
-The work we achieved at the meeting with the
presence of the two Confederations -CONTAC
and CNTA- along with the Latin
American office of the IUF,
Rel-UITA, marks a significant step forward.
We had an open discussion, and both our
Confederations have a clear position of what
should happen in Brazil.
A challenge that we must face in Unilever
is that there are two strong sectors, food and
chemical production, which are more or less
equally important, and in Brazil there is
still no unity between them. We must think about
organizing workers by corporation, regardless of
whether they are in food or chemical production,
so we need to work with all the unions of this
transnational corporation and show that it’s
actually a single corporation.
-It won’t be easy to achieve…
-No, it’s no easy feat. But Rel-UITA has
accumulated great experience in this kind of
efforts. Our International Federation has made
great strides in Latin America and has
increased its membership. The IUF’s
credibility does a lot to further collective
efforts to build regional corporation-wide
organizations, as it has done in the case of
Coca-Cola and Nestlé.
-How is the communication between the diverse
labor tendencies that are active in this sector?
-This meeting evidences progress in that sense.
We’re clearly seeing an easy and relaxed
relationship between the federations. The
Confederations that had had difficulties
relating in the past have now overcome those
difficulties. This is all thanks to the work by
the IUF, which today has the satisfaction
of seeing all its affiliate organizations
sitting down together, openly discussing the
various issues, leaving behind that old game
where everybody just wanted to win and they
pulled their own individual way. We’re making
great strides and we feel that in the near
future we will have a single Food Industry
Confederation in Brazil.
We are making great strides and we feel that in the near
future we will have a single Food Confederation in Brazil.
-How are efforts progressing at Coca-Cola?
-Coca-Cola has 19 franchises and more
than 20 trade unions in the country. Now we must
plan an action before Coca-Cola Brazil,
and we also need to organically link the
international movement with the Latin
American Federation of Coca-Cola Workers
(FELATRAC). In late May we will hold a
national meeting in which we will appoint a
Coordinator to represent Brazil in the
Federation, and we will establish a work agenda.
Our opinion at CONTAC is that FELATRAC
is doing great work, and we’re still convinced
that this new organizational mode is the
greatest accomplishment of the organization that
was behind the idea: Rel-UITA. We have an
enormous installed capacity in Argentina,
in Guatemala and in Uruguay, a lot
of experience we need to socialize. The election
of Raúl Álvarez as president of
FELATRAC was another great move.