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Bridgestone workers still on strike in Bahia, Brazil

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20 July, 2012The workers have been on strike for 20 days and have received support from the USW in the United States, which has promised to seek channels of mediation with the company.

In the Camaçari industrial complex, 41 kilometres from Salvador, Bahia, workers of the multinational company Bridgestone continue on strike. Sindborracha, the union representing the workers, held a meeting on 17 July at which workers rejected the company's proposal on the grounds that it had not improved its previous proposal. The workers therefore decided to continue on strike.

The union says that the workers are angry at Bridgestone's behaviour. It is offering them less pay and benefits than it is offering to workers in other Brazilian states, for example, at its São Paulo plant. There are also serious denunciations of bullying in the factory. The company is offering a 5% pay increase, which is 2% less than other areas, where a pay increase of 7% has been agreed.

We are facing many problems at the factory and the strike is not only economic in nature. We also want respect and an end to bullying in all sectors of the company 

explained Sindborracha leader, Clodoaldo Bartolomeu. 

Bartolomeu said the strike will continue until the company contacts the union with a proposal that responds to the workers’ demands. “We can't allow them to treat us differently, because we contribute to the company’s profits as well. Bridgestone has to understand this and offer the same pay rise and meet the other demands made by workers in Bahia”, said the union leader.

The Bridgestone workers have received solidarity from the national and international trade union movement. At the 11th National Congress of the CUT in Brazil, the United Steel Workers (USW), from the United States, promised to campaign in the United States and Japan to promote support and solidarity for the workers on strike. It is also making every effort to denounce the behaviour of the Bahian subsidiary and to open channels for negotiating a settlement that will end the strike.

The workers went on strike on 31 June and have been subjected to intimidation by company security staff throughout this time. IndustriALL Global Union has been following the dispute closely and repudiates the company's attitude and calls for dialogue to meet the just demands of the workers in Bahia.