Brazil: Excellent agreement ends the conflict in Heineken Ponta Grossa

After three months of a tough negotiation, the Union Ponta Grassa signed an agreement that substantially improves various clauses of the collective agreement.

Rel-UITA spoke with Jorge Pitela, the president of the Union of Workers of drinks Ponta Grossa, to learn the details of the process that was successfully completed last week.

-How was the negotiation process?
The collective bargaining process began last April; the company from the beginning refused the workers` offer which is a wage increase higher than the inflation, which was a real increase. The company has always argued it lacks liquid.

However, according to data provided by the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Economic Studies (DIEESE), we found that Heineken has sent to the headquarters in Europe, 535 million euros (1.6 billion dollars) in foreign currency only in the first quarter of the year.

Based on this information, we drafted our proposals, demanding a salary increase by around 10 percent and a minimum floor that was used in the basic state.

It should be noted that the minimum wage at the state of Paraná is 945 reais, so we were demanding that value as the minimum for workers in the company.

-After several months of negotiations, finally you reached an agreement?
Sure. After many ups and downs and various levels of frustrating negotiation, Heineken has remained in uncompromising stance and as a result the Union declared a strike that lasted five weeks. On August 1, we finally signed an agreement that provided improvements both for wage and social benefits.

-What is specifically this new covenant?
There has been considerable advance in the minimum wage, which has an increase of 16 percent, an average of 9 percent increase in benefits and improvements are obtained, as in the case of the basket, an increase of 60 percent, as well as anticipation for Participation in Profit Sharing.

-How do you evaluate this whole process?
For us it was a great learning experience, which was accompanied by a great achievement as the wage recovery was very important for the company's workers.

I personally believe that this victory was due to the strength of trade union unity, to work together as well as the support and solidarity we received from sister unions, the CNTA and Rel-UITA whom I thank for their prompt intervention, which was central to this conflict coming to an end.

Interview with Jorge Pitela, Syndicate Ponta Grossa
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