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IW 03

Uruguay

Triumph of the occupation of the Lorsinal meat packing plant

The occupation of the Lorsinal meat packing plant, led by the brand new trade union Fademm, stopped the slave-driving bosses in their tracks. The hard resistance and obstinacy that emerged as mobilization, collections on the highway, coordination with the “inter-social” Northern Zone, where slogan painting and agitational expeditions were organized in the neighborhood, the radio La Voz FM (The Voice FM) transmitting live from the plant itself, our newspaper Tribuna de los Trabajadores (Workers Tribune) publicizing the conflict, the important provisions supplied by the UTD (Union of Unemployed Workers) to the union soup kitchen..., the unity and solidarity of these organizations in the struggle, that did not allow isolation and burn-out to set in, was a funamental contribution. In contrast, the leadership of the trade union confederation, PIT-CNT, and Foica (meat-packers) reproached the workers for the measure and failed to collaborate even with the printing of flyers, or even by denouncing the blackmail of the bosses, who suspended the meeting of the wages council (together with the government) because of the occupation.

The signed agreement to suspend the conflict establishes the elimination of the outsourced Fadinex and the passing of the workers to full-time company staff status, together with recognition of seniority and respect for trade union organization. This is a great triumph which shows the way forward for casual and outsourced workers in the meat industry, and in the workers movement as a whole.

This compromise did not establish wage guidelines which will supposedly be set by the wage councils. The Foica proposes 17 pesos. The Fademm counterposes a 20 pesos minimum hourly wage for laborers. The struggle-hardened brothers and sisters of the Lorsinal meat packing plant will have to stay on the alert in order to defend their jobs and exercise their rights as shop stewards on this terrain of struggle in order to regroup the best fighters in the industry in a class struggle caucus and strengthen the union.

By Raul Andino