5 June, 2019Workers at Tenaris Confab in Brazil began strike action on 20 May after the steel-pipe producer fired 25 workers. As a result, the company reversed the dismissals a day later and agreed to negotiate with the union on the workers’ future.
Workers from both the morning and afternoon shifts took part in the strike, leading to a complete shutdown of the firm's production line on 21 May. The workers are members of the Union of Metalworkers of Pindamonhangaba, Moreira Cesar and Roseira, which is affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union through the national confederation of metalworkers (CNM-CUT).
Following the strike, Tenaris management agreed to negotiate an alternative for the dismissed workers, as well as 200 workers in the production sector they say they no longer need. It is possible that Tenaris will seek to bring in some kind of voluntary redundancy plan.
The union also says that five of the 25 workers who were fired on 17 May had been injured as a result of workplace safety issues and their dismissals were irregular. The company initially said that it would not negotiate any alternatives with the union, prompting members to go on strike.
The union asserted the lay-offs were not the only option and said it would do whatever it could to safeguard the workers' rights and find an alternative.
In November 2018, the firm announced that it would potentially have to dismiss large numbers of workers. The union then threatened to hold a strike and managed to negotiate temporary lay-offs for 165 workers.
"We're extremely relieved that the company reversed last week’s dismissals and agreed to negotiate. It's a very delicate situation, because we won't be able to negotiate any more temporary lay-offs. Back in November, we tried to discuss the possibility of some kind of voluntary redundancy plan, but the firm refused. But we can still bring that back to the table, so we have made significant progress here at Tenaris Confab," said the union's chairman, Herivelto Vela.
IndustriALL's general secretary, Valter Sanches, stated that:
"Tenaris is involved in anti-union practices all around the world and fails to comply with employment standards, especially in Guatemala and Colombia. We support the workers at Tenaris Confab and members of the CNM-CUT in their struggle and are pleased that their strike action has led to the dismissals being suspended.”