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Workers at Petrobras Brazil condemn union busting

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8 April, 2021In the face of union busting, Brazilian oil workers' union FUP is striking to protect workers' rights and is demanding safe and decent working conditions.

Part of IndustriALL affiliate CNQ/CUT, the FUP launched a 30-day strike in response to how Petrobras' privatization is affecting labour relations. According to the union, the drastic reduction of the workforce has led to employees being overworked, increased the risk of accidents and goes against the collective agreement.

The union is also protesting against the sale of the Landulpho Alves Refinery (RLAM), which it says was sold for less than the minimum amount set by Petrobras. The process resulted in large payments and bonuses for the company’s senior management, raising suspicions about the deal.

The FUP says that from the beginning, Petrobras had been trying to disrupt the strike, using anti-union practices against FUP leaders and both permanent and subcontracted staff.

RLAM's has suspended FUP leader Deyvid Bacelar for 29 days for leading the strike and is preparing to dismiss him. The FUP says that Petrobras is doing this to intimidate him and to dissuade other workers from taking action to protect their rights and their jobs.

Workers are not allowed to use face masks with the slogan "privatization is bad for Brazil" and the union logo. The company has fined the Bahía union and taken repressive action against it.

According to the FUP, the actions by Petrobras management are violating ILO Conventions 98 and 135, both ratified by Brazil, and are in breach of the precedent set by Brazil’s high court of employment.

On 3 April, the FUP temporarily suspended the strike in response to the company’s request for negotiations. Bacelar says that they will take up the strike again if talks don’t progress or if there is an increase in Covid-19 infections or deaths at Petrobras oil platforms and refineries.

In a letter to Petrobras president Joaquim da Silva e Luna, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches, said:

"IndustriALL rejects and condemns the company's union busting and bullying of union leaders. We demand that freedom of association is respected and that the current labour legislation is complied with by immediately ending the arbitrary suspension of Deyvid Bacelar."