Gerdau workers demand safe work

21 Feb 2013 

More than 600 workers stopped production at the Gerdau plant in São Leopoldo for more than 2 hours on 19 February, demanding action after a severe workplace injury occurred on 16 February.

Ivanes Dos Santos, a Gerdau worker at the plant, lost a leg at work during the night of 16 February 2013. Ivanes is 43 years old and has 16 years of seniority.

The workers representative in the Joint H&S committee at the plant had told Gerdau in previous meetings that this accident was waiting to happen. The speed of production is too high due to reduction of personal and measures to decrease costs.

Valmir Lodi, coordinator of the Gerdau network in Brazil, said that this is the third serious accident in Brazil in the last year.  

Workers demonstrated outside and inside the plant because the employer called the police and closed the gates. After the demonstration the union met with the employer and, among other claims, demanded a single master agreement for Gerdau for all Brazil. The employer agreed to continue the conversation in Sao Paulo.

The unions also demanded the reinstatement of the labour leader who was suspended in January from the Gerdau plant in Pindamonhangaba, Brazil. Marcos Alves Corrêa, coordinator of the stewards at the plant, was suspended after a verbal fight with a Health and Safety supervisor that did not want to allow Marcos to be part of a safety visit.

The Gerdau Workers’ World Council, one of the most active worker networks of IndustriALL affiliates, defends the right to have a decent life and decent work in all countries where it represents workers. This week the network actively participated in the Mexico Global Days of Action at Gerdau plants in 8 countries.

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