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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

Speedup Kills! Union Rally at Cargill Brazil Highlights Death on the Job

Posted to the IUF website 24-Jul-2007

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Representatives of the national foodworkers union CONTAC, the national center CUT and IUF Latin America rallied with SINDAVES, the union at Cargill's poultry processing plant in Sidrol�ndia (Mato Grosso do Sul), to demand justice for 29-year-old Marcos Ant�nio Pedro, who was killed on the job on March 28. The union has filed charges against the company, and following the demonstration a union delegation headed for the state capital Campo Grande to demand a full inquiry by the federal prosecutor.

Pedro, a maintenance worker, was sliced in half after he fell into a tank in the chilling unit. Management has called his death a "suicide" and refused compensation. Maintenance workers at Cargill Sidrol�ndia are provided no safety or protective equipment whatsoever, despite the hazardous work. They have exactly one hour to clean the entire plant between slaughter cycles. Pedro could have been extracted from the tank while still alive, but management attempted a quicker rescue operation in order not to threaten punctual resumption of the production cycle.

CONTAC and IUF Latin America are campaigning in Brazil for fundamental regulatory action with regard to the horrendous line speeds which are driving Brazil's poultry export boom. Workers at the Sidrol�ndia plant process over 150,000 chickens daily, all of which is exported to Europe and the United States.

In March, CONTAC health secretary Geni dalla Rosa told the IUF 25th Congress "Thousands of women suffer daily under appalling working conditions. They bear the pain in their bodies, bodies that cannot endure the work pace in Brazil's poultry plants. Our country is world champion of chicken exports, and to win that title it has also turned into the world champion producer of victims of repetitive strain injuries (RSI)."

Regular updates on the Cargill Brazil campaign are available on the website of the IUF Latin American regional secretariat.