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     Brazil - Sidrolandia


Demonstration to DIGNIFY WORK in CARGILL

With Siderlei de Oliveira

How far will CARGILL go?


CONTAC president Siderlei de Oliveira, has expressed in more than one opportunity his outrage and shock at the appalling policy that the US transnational corporation subjects its workers to in Brazil. Sirel interviewed the food industry union leader and president of the National Health at Work Institute of the United Workers’ Federation to learn what he thought of the demonstration held last Saturday 21st in Sidrolandia, Mato Grosso do Sul, and about future union actions


Siderlei Siderlei de Oliveira during

the Demonstration to DIGNIFY WORK in CARGILL

-What’s your evaluation of the demonstration organized in front of the CARGILL plant in Sidrolandia?

-The mobilization had two leading aims: the first was to express our outrage at the atrocities committed by the company against the indigenous Terena people, one of whose members, MARCOS ANTONIO PEDRO, died in a terrible accident at the factory last March 28. As if the accident weren’t bad enough, CARGILL later declared that the cause of the worker’s death was suicide and not an accident. This way CARGILL lays the full responsibility on the victim, committing yet another aggression against the culture and feelings of the Terena people.

The other aim of the mobilization, which was successful, was to show the workers’ indignation and discontent over the high number of work-related accidents and illnesses occurring at the Sidrolandia plant, which the transnational corporation deals with in the same way it did with the death of Marcos Antonio Pedro. We were able to witness first-hand a typical example of Cargill management’s methods at work: the dismissal with cause (that is, without compensation) of a pregnant worker, in spite of the fact that Brazilian laws guarantee labor stability for expectant mothers.


-Workers are dismissed with cause when it is proven that they’ve committed an act of serious misconduct, such as stealing, right?

-Yes, or when the company finds a worker drunk on the job, or something as serious as that. The thing is that in CARGILL’s case the company knows full well that it will lose all the dismissal with cause actions it brings against workers. It then turns a dismissal with cause into a dismissal with compensation, but doesn’t reinstate the worker who suffered the accident or who is pregnant, and thus it ultimately achieves what it wanted to begin with: to get rid of these workers.


-Is this common practice in Brazil?

-No, this is the only company in the food sector that operates like this, to evade the responsibilities it has with sick or injured workers. If a company acts in such a way with its sick and pregnant workers, there’s no telling what happens with workers inside the factory.


-At the end of the demonstration, a set of demands was unanimously approved by the workers, to be negotiated with the company and the CARGILL National Workers Commission. What are the leading demands?

-A reduced work pace; a shorter workday of six hours; the acceptance of the union doctor certificates as proof of illness or injury; the establishment of an Internal Plant Committee at CARGILL, and an end to the “deposit of sick workers” in the plant, that is, when a worker is injured he or she must remain away from the factory and must be referred to social security.


-What actions are being planned now?

-After this significant activity that gathered hundreds of workers, it was decided that if CARGILL does not meet our demands, we will call a strike for an indefinite period of time in all the plants the transnational corporation has in Brazil.

From Sidrolandia, Gerardo Iglesias

© Rel-UITA

July 23, 2007







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