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Bridgestone workers in Bahia remain mobilized

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24 August, 2012Bridgestone workers have ended one of the longest strikes in the history of Brazilian manufacturing industry but remain mobilised after mediation by the Ministry of Labour leads to further negotiations.

The 51-day strike by Bridgestone workers in the Brazilian state of Bahia, thought to be one of the longest in the history of Brazilian manufacturing industry, ended on Monday August 20, but the workers remain mobilised.

In this new stage of the dispute, representatives of the company and Sindborracha, the union that represents the workers, will meet to discuss the workers’ demands on August 27, with mediation by the Ministry of Labour.

Workers have resisted pressure from the company since the strike began. The company has consistently tried to end the strike by using such anti-trade union practices as recruiting security personnel to attack the striking workers, trying to criminalize the movement and using untrained workers from São Paulo at the Bahia plant. The multinational also failed to make progress in the negotiations, even after a court ruled that the strike was legal.

On several occasions, Sindborracha has explained that the Bridgestone workers are fighting for decent working conditions and an end to bullying as well as a pay rise. “Bridgestone pays higher wages to its São Paulo workers and this difference in pay levels between states, combined with the fact that it pays less than other companies in the same sector, means that the company is making a profit by exploiting its workforce and practising social dumping.”