Workers at the transnational company Bridgestone have now been on strike for more than a month in response to employer intransigence.
The workers’ union, Sindborracha, has issued a press release condemning the company’s attitude. The union says the company is refusing to increase its offer of a 5% pay rise and an R$8,000 profit-sharing bonus or respond to other union demands. For example, the union is calling on the company to comply with the constitutional restriction on continuous shift working (36 hours); a night shift rate of 40% extra, payable for the entire shift, as at most other companies; and a mid-shift meal break of one hour, as required by labour legislation (Bridgestone only allows 30 minutes).
Meanwhile, companies in the same sector, including Goodyear, Pirelli and Continental have reached agreement with their workers on a 7% pay rise and a profit-sharing bonus of R$9,200 (Continental) and R$8,000 (Pirelli).
The union says the company’s replacement of striking Bahian workers with workers from its plant in Sao Paulo represents a failure to respect the right to strike. Moreover, the company is now threatening to pull out of Bahia. “The company is using all the anti-trade union weapons at its disposal to attack the strike and put pressure on the strikers to return to work. It has gone so far as to try and criminalise the movement, accusing workers of vandalism. Bridgestone has declared war on Sindborracha and the entire trade union movement, by using violence against Bahian workers who are using peaceful means to demand their rights” says the union.
The union also says that “Bridgestone workers are fighting for decent working conditions and an end to bullying as well as better pay. Bridgestone pays higher wages in Sao Paulo and this difference in pay between states and the higher wages also paid by other companies in the same sector shows that the company is making profits by exploiting workers and practising social dumping.”
IndustriALL Global Union has been following the dispute closely from the beginning and condemns the company’s position and calls on IndustriALL affiliates to act in solidarity with the just demands of the Bahian workers.