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With Artur Bueno de Camargo

Minerva Group

negotiations at a deadlock


The workers of Brazil’s third leading meatpacking company, located in Barretos, state of São Paulo, demand better pay, a share in the company’s profits and results, and more importantly that the company join collective bargaining at the state level. Sirel spoke with Artur Bueno de Camargo, president of the National Confederation of Food and Related Industry Workers (CNTA), who explained why negotiations have reached a deadlock.


-What are the workers’ demands?

-The workers at this meatpacking plant are demanding a raise in wages, an increase in the value of the basic food basket, and for a higher wage floor, as the company has the country’s lowest wage floor in its category.


The leading reason for this situation is that the Minerva Group refuses to participate in collective bargaining at the state level. This has resulted in its workers being denied benefits that all other workers in their sector have. Moreover, the company refuses to give them a share in profits and results.


In this context, the Barretos Food Industry Workers’ Union (STIA) called on the National Confederation of Food and Related Industry Workers (CNTA) and the Federation of Food Industry Workers (FTIA) to act as mediators in the negotiations with the company. Following a deadlock where no progress was being made, last Jan. 11 we held a major demonstration in front of the meatpacking plant with the participation of workers and their families, with the aim of pressuring the company.


-What impact did this measure have?

-After the demonstration we were able to move forward in some issues. The company accepted our demand to increase the value of the basic food basket and offered to bring the wage floor up by 13 percent and give a 6.5 percent raise to all workers; but even with this improvement of its initial proposal the Minerva Group is still offering benefits that are well below those granted by other São Palo companies in the sector.


-What issues are still pending?

-We’re still negotiating the issue of participation in profits and results; we demand that the company immediately implement a system that gives workers a share in the profits and results, and that the Minerva Group sign an agreement whereby it commits itself to join collective bargaining at the São Paulo state level.


The company is considering these issues as we speak, but it has not announced its position yet. We’re still waiting, but according to its spokespersons the company will give its response anytime now.


-What will happen if it doesn’t accept these demands?

-The most important demand for our union is that Minerva join the state bargaining process; if the company refuses us on this demand, than it will be very hard for us to reach an agreement.


We’re giving them until next week. If we have no answer by then, we’ll resume mobilizations.

Representatives of CNTA, FTIA-SP, and the Barreto Food Industry Workers’ Union

From Montevideo, Amalia Antúnez


January 20, 2011





Fotos: CNTA


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