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Workers call for solutions after DOW announces plant closure in Argentina

13 September, 2021Multinational DOW intends to close its only plant producing polyurethane in Argentina by May 2022. The shutdown will lead to the loss of 120 jobs at the factory and hundreds more indirectly.

Once the plant in Puerto General San Martín, Argentina, is closed, DOW will supply the whole of South America from its factory in Brazil. The multinational says that the decision has nothing to do with the economic crisis – the factory is a success, turns a profit and plays a key role in the country's economy. The firm's move is part of a global restructuring affecting factories in other countries as well.

After the shutdown was announced, the San Lorenzo General Workers’ Union (CGT) expressed its support for the SOEPU union of petrochemicals workers at DOW and said that it was ready to take action. The unions are calling for a dialogue in order to find a solution and intend to exhaust all possible avenues for negotiation.

"The CGT stands ready to help the union and is prepared to take any regional measures necessary,"

said Jesús Monzón, CGT's general secretary.

DOW has been reluctant to negotiate and intends to lay off the workers and shut down the factory. It would appear that DOW wants to maintain its monopoly and control over prices and is not prepared to negotiate with a potential competitor.

After a press conference at the San Lorenzo CGT headquarters, Mauricio Brizuela, SOEPU's secretary general, said:

"We want the plant will be declared a public utility, and we will keep campaigning if DOW doesn’t come up with a solution."

The workers want to keep their jobs and are calling for other companies to take over the running of the factory. Several companies have come forward and said that they would like to keep the factory running, like Petroquímica Río Tercero, part of the Piero Group producing related products. Some mattress producers have also shown interest.

Tom Grinter, director of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and rubber industries at IndustriALL, said:

"The SOEPU union at DOW is a key component of the international network of DOW and Du Pont unions. The network, which is run by USW, has the full support of IndustriALL Global Union. We stand firmly with our friends as they fight to keep the factory open."