22 July, 2020In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cosmetics and jewelry producer Unique-Yanbal in Peru, has dismissed 600 workers, nearly all women.
According to the Unique Workers Union, affiliated to IndustriALL affiliate FETRIMAP, Unique-Yanbal is carrying out mass layoffs and has announced that the jewelry production will be moved to Colombia, due to a decreasing demand in the wake of the coronavirus.
FETRIMAP general secretary Gilmer Ibañez, says:
“Closing the jewelry plant in Lima will leave more than 600 workers unemployed, 90 per cent of which are women.”
The Unique union is seeking dialogue with Unique-Yanbal, to among other things propose relocation of their members to another production plant in Lima, but the employer is not responding.
María Barbuena, Unique union organizing secretary, says:
“This is a regrettable move as most of the women are the main providers of their families. In addition, five of the women are pregnant and others have work-related injuries due to the manual work. However, the company completely disregards this.”
Although Unique-Yanbal claims to want to “change people's lives” with its beauty products, more than 2,000 of its workers are only paid close to the minimum wage. The company has consistently refused to negotiate wages or working conditions with the union, which was formed in 2019.
In fact, in stark contrast to its own statement on ethics and transparency, Unique-Yanbal has tried to impede union registrations, and encourages union disaffiliation, using reprimands and suspensions.
In a letter to Unique-Yanbal, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches, calls on the company to safeguard the jobs:
"IndustriALL is urging Unique-Yanbal to immediately suspend the mass layoffs during the pandemic, to respect the workers’ fundamental rights and to engage in a dialogue with the union."
Unique-Yanbal, present in ten countries in the Americas and Europe, manufactures cosmetics and jewelry. Its founder, Fernando Belmont Anderson, was on Forbes list of billionaires in 2013 and 2014.