Unfair dismissal in Kunstmann Heineken Brewery in Chile

Earlier this year, the Kunstmann brewery, part of Heineken Holding CCU began unilaterally to make changes to the machinery of the factory in Valdivia. Workers reminded the company that it cannot take these measures without consulting the trade union and the company in response dismissed the 15 percent of union members.

Yerko Aburto, president of the Union of Workers of the Cervecería Kunstmann told IUF Latin America that the company is expanding its production and therefore hiring new workers, who are suggested not to join the union.

"Faced with this attitude of management, the union will begin to question the actions of the company that restrict freedom of association" he said. He explained that the Chilean labor legislation still has strong vestiges of the era of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, the company could, in case of an eventual stoppage; replace the strikers by these new workers who are not members of the union.

"Faced with this unfair strategy the union filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour about the anti-union dismissals. In the midst of this, the company paid discounts to members without respecting the jurisdiction, "he said. "The company must have paid the hours of union leave and did not; therefore there was a reduction in our salaries. Furthermore on March 30, nine workers who were all union members were dismissed, "he said.

This series of anti-union measures by the brewery has failed to dismember the trade organization. "Fortunately the company could not divide us as an organization. On the contrary, we are stronger. Received the support of our Federation locally and the support and solidarity of the IUF and its affiliates worldwide, "said the leader.

Aburto Yerko stressed the importance of solidarity received from unions in Uruguay and Brazil. "We've been working on a strategy of pressure on such transnational companies, covering various unions and social organizations in Chile and abroad, as a way to counteract the shortcomings of the labor law is rather loose with employers "he said.

On Monday 27 at mediation meeting with the management of the company the union demanded the reinstatement of the dismissed workers without success. For that reason it is that the case went to the orbit of the labor courts.

"We are ready to dialogue but we will not give in when it comes to basic rights of workers" said Aburto.

The Kunstmann Brewery employs 90 workers, of which 80 percent is member of the Union.
Kunstmann a family ownership, the company had 0.5 percent of the beer market in Chile in 2002, reaching a production of 20,000 hectoliters. That same year the CCU Heineken Holding acquired 49 percent stake in the firm, founding Kunstmann SA Brewing Company.

Find the original Spanish news here: http://www.rel-uita.org/index.php/es/sindicatos/item/6317-la-pureza-anti...