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CMPC union network highlights company's growth in Latin America region

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24 April, 2022Workers in CMPC's Latin American and Caribbean union network highlighted the company's growth in the region since the Covid-19 pandemic during an online meeting. It is one of the oldest union networks within a major pulp and paper company.

Union leaders met online on 7 April to exchange experiences about the conflicts facing their organisations, the company's productivity levels and next steps as a network. The group has a good track record of conducting physical and virtual activities, meeting with the company, supporting each other and visiting major factories in Chile and Brazil.

IndustriALL Global Union's director of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pulp, paper, and rubber industries, Tom Grinter, provided an overview of the situation of the pulp and paper sector globally, with a special focus on CMPC. He explained that the pulp and paper sector was considered an essential sector during the pandemic, and that it is performing very well globally in 2022.

He said that there was a significant supply chain disruption in the industry during the pandemic. Although the situation has now improved, problems remain. For example, he mentioned that raw material from Russia was largely removed from the supply chain due to the invasion of Ukraine.

In relation to CMPC's situation in the region, the Brazilian union leaders pointed out that the company is becoming a very strong power and is investing money in various production units. In Rio Grande do Sul, for example, it has created 7500 direct jobs. It is also trying to reduce its environmental footprint.

In the case of Chile, workers said that "CMPC is living a moment of glory" with high profit levels. They explained that they recently completed a collective bargaining process at the end of which they were able to reach a good agreement with the company.

The picture was different in the other countries. In the case of Uruguay, workers reported problems with the number of jobs. They explained that the company has been restructuring for the last three years, reducing jobs due to technological change and the loss of market share. They said that the factory is selling less and less, due to the import of products from Argentina and Brazil.

The situation did not seem to be much different in Peru either, where workers explained that CMPC Protisa does not want to give workers a share of its profits and is cutting jobs due to organisational restructuring. So far the company has dismissed 10 employees affiliated to the union, and the union is trying to negotiate with the company to avoid further dismissals.

Members of the CMPC union network agreed that they will continue to work together to fight the problems they are facing in some countries. They said they will develop further online meetings and will probably hold a face-to-face meeting.