28 September, 2021The union of Farmindustria workers in Peru, part of Peru's federation of manufacturing workers (FETRIMAP), an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union, went on strike on 1 September to demand increased wages and better working conditions.
The union called the strike to get the company to meet its collective bargaining demands for the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 periods.
However, Farmindustria, a subsidiary of US pharmaceutical company Abbott, kept to its global policy of not engaging with unions on wage increases. And while it did raise some wages during the 2020–2021 period, it marginalized and discriminated against unionized workers, who did not receive any pay rises.
Even though Abbott, which has an international monopoly on the production of some of the medicines used to treat Covid-19, has benefited financially from the pandemic, it has no intention of coming to any kind of agreement with its workers and has adopted an anti-union policy.
Gilmer Ibañez Meléndrez, FETRIMAP-CGT secretary general, says:
"Abbott is a market leader in Peru but is still lags way behind when it comes to pay. Most workers are on the government's minimum wage. After the union was formed in early 2020, the company immediately brought in a new wage policy that included some minimum pay increases so that they could keep pay rises out of the collective bargaining process."
Peru's general confederation of workers (CGTP) stands in solidarity with the union members and is supporting their struggle. It has called on workers across Peru to join forces to protect employment rights. It has also demanded that Farmindustria-Abbott come up with solutions to the union's list of demands and called on the Employment Authority to ensure compliance with the law, which safeguards the right to collective bargaining.
As the company refuses to cooperate, the workers will continue their fight, backed by CGTP and FETRIMAP affiliates. They remain committed to obtaining pay rises and better working conditions and will keep campaigning until their demands are met.
Cristian Alejandro Valerio, IndustriALL deputy regional secretary, says:
"We call on Farmindustria to stop its anti-union behaviour and respect the workers' right to strike. We urge the company to forge a dialogue with workers to assess and resolve their list of demands. We congratulate the union and FETRIMAP for continuing to fight for workers' rights and for standing firm despite the company's attempt to undermine them.”
In a letter to the company, IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie urges Abbott Laboratories to reach a settlement with the union and end the ongoing strike.