8 November, 2012It was decided in the Gerdau Workers World Council that workers around the world would come together and demand respect for workers at Brazilian multinational Gerdau in Colombia.
In Brazil the Gerdau workers’ union in Rio Grande do Sul, didn’t waste time and included a section in their newsletter on the treatment of Gerdau workers in Colombia. The union distributed the newsletters in front of work places in support of Gerdau Workers in Colombia.
Since arriving in Colombia, Gerdau has enriched itself at the expense of workers. The steel multinational closed operations at Laminados Andinos and Sidelpa to move production to other plants. Management attempted to close another plant in Duitama but, when they were forced to re-open, they hired only contract workers. Today in Duitama, there are 3 outsourced workers to each permanent worker.
After the continuing violations of workers' rights in the Gerdau plants in Colombia, coordinated action was taken by the company union network between 31 October and 3 November. Local unions belonging to the International Council distributed leaflets in their plants to inform their members and management of the situation.
The Gerdau Workers’ World Council is one of the most active worker networks of IndustriALL affiliates. See their campaign leaflet in support of Colombian workers. The campaign leaflet states:
The Gerdau Workers’ World Council defends the right to have a decent life and decent work in all countries where it represents workers. We will not fall for the company’s strategy to pit us against each other when their only goal is to improve profits at our expense. Gerdau speaks of "ethics" and "respect", but in practice we see the opposite.
The Council continues calling on Gerdau to create an International Joint Health and Safety Committee. Gerdau must accept that the workers’ wellbeing is more important than profits.