• Categories
  • Archives

How Nestlí©’s Work Relations Have Soured in Brazil

The Nestlé plant in Araras, near São Paulo, is the biggest Nestlé plant in Brazil and the fourth largest Nestlé plant in the world. Years ago Brazilian workers experienced the plant as a good and attractive place to work. However the working environment has changed completely since the mid-1990’s.

According to IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations) Nestlé’s strategies to become more competitive have focussed on cost reducing measures and the most efficient use of machines, while ignoring the health and safety aspects for their “human capital”.


In 2001, the instant coffee factories in Argentina and Chile were closed and their production transferred to Araras. As a consequence, the workforce in Araras had to work faster and harder to meet the company’s results, but for the same salaries.


The number of employees at Araras itself has been reduced over the last 20 years from about 2100 to some 1300 . While many processes have been mechanized, this has only accelerated the pace of work at the many junctures where strenuous manual efforts are still required.


The intensified pace of work, with no compensatory increase in work breaks, has not surprisingly led to an increase in the number of workers suffering from repetitive strain injuries (RSI).


But instead of taking this as a sign that the organization of work had to be revised, the company dismissed those workers who obtained a medical certificate attesting that they suffered from RSI.


Or as one manager expressed it, “The women workers are the only ones who give us problems. It would be better to employ robots instead of women, because the machines do not feel pain in the arms, have no menstrual pains and are not having babies.”


Nestlé’s Araras management is obviously not familiar with the company’s official policy regarding health and safety and non-discrimination.


As the local management has chosen to ignore the health and safety of its employees, the victims of RSI have established their own association and have filed a substantial number of lawsuits against the company.


Furthermore, the Brazilian government’s national rapporteur on the Right to Health, Elenora Menicucci de Oliveira, has included the cases of the dismissed RSI-affected workers at Nestlé Araras in her latest report to the United Nation’s Commission on Human Rights.


Having avoided their responsibilities at the factory level, the employer may now have to respond at the UN level.


The struggle against RSI and support for the victims has been part of the project activities that the IUF Latin American regional office has developed together with its affiliates in Brazil.


Carlos Amorim describes the experiences from the Araras plant in the booklet “Silent Massacre – the Invisible Illness at Nestlé Araras” – www.rel-uita.org/publicaciones/masacre-silenciosa.htm. The booklet can be ordered (in Spanish) from the IUF Latin American Regional Secretariat.


International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF)
www.iuf.org

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Manifesto to the Nation Calls for Social Inclusion in Brazil

The Minister of the Brazilian Secretariat of Institutional Relations, Jaques Wagner, will receive today ...

Hundreds of Evicted Brazilian Indians Have Nowhere to Go

Junei Marques, the mayor of the town of Antônio João, in the state of ...

In Brazil Inflation Falls, Unemployment Rises, Real Zooms Up 26%

The inflation index in Brazil fell to a seven-month low in February mitigating concerns ...

Brazil Radio Station Set on Fire for 3rd Time. Mayor Main Suspect

Brazilian Nova Coari radio, in Amazonas state, in northern Brazil, was set on fire ...

Music: Brazil’s Latest Export Product

Brazil wants to show its beat. If this is the country of music, why ...

Stronger Ties

"This is an exhilarating time in the Brazil-U.S. relationship: a time of change, a ...

Brazil Has Already Exported US$ 655 Million in Gold This Year

Brazil exports three types of gold: bars, gold thread and gold bullion; raw gold; ...

Japan Might Import 6 Billion Liters of Ethanol a Year from Brazil

Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil giant, reports it is studying the possibility of exporting sugarcane-based ...

Yahoo Gets Lunar Eclipse Mood to Relaunch Brand in Brazil

Yahoo! Brazil is introducing a new version of their homepage together with a brand ...

Police Seize 7 Tons of Drugs at Brazil-Paraguay Border

In two days, the Brazilian Federal Police (PF) in the state of Paraná, South ...