26 June, 2017Uruguayan metalworkers have reached agreement with CIMSA after going on strike in support of demands for the company to comply with collective agreements and payment of wages.
The cement company CIMSA finally listened to the complaints of its workers, members of the national metalworkers’ union, UNTMRA, an Uruguayan affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union. After taking action and calling an indefinite strike, the union reached an agreement with the company.
The workers said that CIMSA ignored Uruguayan labour law and failed to pay wages.
“The dispute was about CIMSA’s violation of the collective agreements in force. We defend the wages of the families, which were paid late and were not paid in full. We negotiated with the company for 45 days, during which time it ignored the law on collective bargaining,”
explained John Almada of UNTMRA.
After many rounds of talks, the company finally responded to the workers’ demands and agreed to pay 50 per cent of the arrears and pay workers for the days spent on strike. The union believes that the agreement represents progress with regard to collective bargaining and compliance with collective agreements.
CIMSA is an Argentinean company subcontracted by the National Fuel, Alcohol and Portland Administration (ANCAP). ANCAP is a Uruguayan state-owned multinational company that runs the national alcohol monopoly, fuel and Portland cement. It also imports, refines and sells petroleum products.
The workers are dissatisfied that ANCAP did not intervene in the dispute and force CIMSA to comply with the collective agreements. They believe that ANCAP was therefore complicit in the dispute.
“We repudiate the anti-trade union stance taken by ANCAP management against us and members of the ANCAP federation (FANCAP, also affiliated to IndustriALL),” said Almada.
FANCAP is also in dispute with ANCAP because of the latter’s decision to transfer its medical service to a private institution. The special medical service for ANCAP employees is one of the union’s main achievements.
Today, 21 June, FANCAP held a general meeting to assess the restructuring of the company’s medical service and decide what action to take. Both FANCAP and UNTMRA participated today in the partial national strike called by the Uruguay trade union centre PIT CNT .
IndustriALL director, Fernando Lopes, had this to say about UNTMRA’s and FANCAP’s disputes with CIMSA and ANCAP:
Our colleagues in UNTMRA and FANCAP can count on the support of IndustriALL and its affiliates. The struggle continues until we win.”