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With Siderlei Silva de Oliveira


Uniting all the trade unions of Unilever workers



At the Third International Meeting of Unilever workers, held March 3 and 4 in Sao Paulo, Sirel 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 meeting?

-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.

En São Paulo, Carlos Amorín


2 de abril de 2009




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