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Strike at Volvo Brazil ends with worker victory

4 June, 2015Workers at Volvo Brazil have ended the longest strike in the company’s history. An agreement on pay and on job security was finally reached on 1 June, ending a 24-day strike that was called in response to company threats to dismiss workers.  

Members of the Curitiba Metalworkers’ Union (SMC), affiliated to the National Confederation of Metalworkers (CNTM), in turn affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, voted to strike on 8 May in response to Volvo Brazil management’s threat to make workers redundant. The strike ended on 1 June after an agreement was reached.

Volvo’s Curitiba plant employs around 3,500 workers. On 7 May, the company reached an agreement with the Ministry of Labour establishing a 15 day period for negotiations with the union to seek an alternative to the dismissals. However, on the same day, the company began to inform workers that it would be dismissing 600 workers.

The union therefore called a strike. Sergio Butka, union president, said from the start that he was open to negotiations to discuss options for Volvo to guarantee job security.

Negotiations reach an agreement benefiting workers

On 12 May, Volvo organised a secret ballot on a proposal to make a 50 per cent reduction in payments due this year under the company’s profit-sharing scheme. It also proposed flexibilisation of rights in the pay agreement. However, 77 per cent of employees rejected the proposal, with 23 per cent in favour.

With no further response from the company, the workers decided to continue the strike until the company was ready to negotiate. Finally, on 1 June, Volvo agreed to sit down with the union at the negotiating table and presented another proposal on profit-sharing. It proposed an increase of R$ 5,000-8,000 for the first instalment and a ceiling of R$30,000, depending on production levels. Finally, it negotiated the possibility of a voluntary redundancy plan, in which employees accepting redundancy would receive their pay plus other rights.

Fernando Lopes, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union said, This victory shows that the workers must get behind their unions. We can win if we remain united”.

Industriall Global Union welcomes the negotiations and agreements between Volvo and its employees and the company’s decision to listen to their grievances and agree to accept collective bargaining.