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Cargill Seara Poultry Workers on Strike in Brazil

Posted to the IUF website 17-Nov-2008

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Workers at the Cargill-owned Seara poultry plant in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul have been on strike since November 10 to protest provocations by management during collective bargaining negotiations. Some 2,600 workers - about 90 percent of the - workforce - walked off the lines when the company proposed 10% monetary compensation for work in difficult and unhealthy conditions - half the 20% mandated by the Brazilian Supreme Labour Court. Many Seara workers perform tasks at a temperature below 12 degrees centigrade.

Additional union demands include a 3 percent premium for workers in slaughtering, a general 3 percent increase to offset inflation, a 36-hourwork week, reduced line speeds and more frequent breaks. Monthly wages currently stand at between R466 and R660 (USD 202-288). Sixty percent of the workers at the Cargill plant are women and some 30 percent are drawn from the indigenous Terenas tribe.

While the company has used police and security guards to pressure strikers to return to work through the use of police and security guards, the National Confederation of Food Industry Workers (CONTAC), STIA Sidrolandia, FTIA-MS and the plant level Union of Food Industry Workers of Sidrol´┐Żndia (SINDAVES) are pressing for a resumption of the collective bargaining process in order to pursue their demands.

On March 28, 2007 at the same Cargill Seara Sidrolandia plant, 29-year-old maintenance worker Marcos Ant´┐Żnio Pedro was killed on the job after being sliced in half when he fell into a tank in the chilling unit. Management called his death a "suicide" and refused compensation (Click here for background).