Since May collective bargaining between management of the TenarisSilcotub steel factory in Zalău, Romania producing pipelines and its workers has not reached any progress.
The union organized a number of rallies, including the most recent on 5 August, where hundreds of workers and their family members participated. Armed with vuvuzelas, whistles, tricolor flags and banners with messages blaming their employer and governors, protesters complained about low wages.
"The employer proves the same attitude of indifference, so we will continue to go out in the streets,"
says Alexandru Rus, leader of the Zalău metallurgist union, member of IndustriALL affiliate FSS-METAROM.
He also explained that on Thursday, 9 August, he would meet in Bucharest with officials of the Labour Ministry and the National Labor Inspectorate to explain facts about workers’ situation in the pipeline factory.
Alexandru Rus also referred to the problems in the national legislation, he particularly referred to amendments made to the national Social Dialogue Law in 2011, which resulted in a significant increase of Romanian workers paid only the minimum wage. According to his estimation currently there are about 34 per cent of them, compared to 8 per cent before the law was amended. Alexandru Rus explained that “At this moment, 8 out of 10 Romanian employees earn [monthly, editor’s remark] less than RON 2,050 (Euro 440).”
According to his words, so far employer’s offer is to raise salaries between RON 100 (Euro 20) and RON 200 (Euro 40), while the union demands are between RON 250 (Euro 50) and RON 350 (Euro 75) for each worker. In the hope that their voices are heard, TenarisSilcotub workers promised to hold new protests in the coming period.
There are about 1,500 people working in the Zalău factory.
Tenaris’ arrogant and negligent behavior towards workers and failure to bargain in good faith in Romania is not an exception. Unions in other countries are also facing similar troubles with this company. For instance, in Colombia workers claim that Tenaris TuboCaribe has not negotiated in good faith and has not signed a collective agreement. The company suspended seven trade union leaders for 15 days for having distributed flyers in which they explained the company and union position during the negotiations.
In Guatemala, IndustriALL had to lodge an OECD complaint against multinational steel producer Ternium, part of the same Techint Group as Tenaris, for refusing to recognize and negotiate with a trade union at its operations in the country.
Kemal Ozkan, IndustriALL Assistant general secretary says,
“IndustriALL stands in firm solidarity with the rightful struggle of our sisters and brothers at TenarisSilcotub pipe factory in Zalău, Romania same as at Tenaris and Ternium in Colombia and Guatemala. We will continue working alongside the Tenaris Ternium Workers' World Council and will denounce ruthless attitude of the company, until justice prevails for all Tenaris and Ternium workers.”