Uruguay INBEV: Towards a unified agreement for two operations

Brewery workers are very close to achieving the equalization of benefits between the two unions of the subsidiaries of transnational AB InBev in Uruguay and through improving and adding new clauses moving towards a unified agreement.

In an interview with the IUF Latin America region, Roque Apecetche, the president of the Union of Norteña blue-collar and white-collar beer workers (SOEN) organized at Brewery and Malting Paysandú (Cympay) talked about the details of the new agreement between SOEN, the Gremial Center of Maltería Uruguay (CGMU) and transnational AB InBev which owns 2 malting operations in Uruguay.

-What is the current situation of the agreement being negotiated?
This is an agreement that has been negotiated directly with the company seeking to equalize the provisions for both unions in Uruguay, the SOEN and CGMU. The process took almost a year and there were moments of breakdown of negotiations when we had to push through mobilization, demonstration and assemblies.The same clauses are established in both conventions which incorporated new benefits for both unions.

-What are these new benefits?
Members of SOEN and CGMU got a dental deal for their members to be paid as a monthly fee starting from January 1, 2015; workers who have children studying in college will benefit from 10 tickets per year to travel from their colleges to home; and nonworking public holidays which are a total of six days a year will be paid triple four any worker who works in those days.

On the other hand, the SOEN incorporated the mutual benefit of two monthly tickets for workers and their families, something the CGMU already had and CGMU incorporated the award of pension retirement, a benefit which Cympay workers who are members of SOEN had for long time which consists the one-time payment of 12 salaries at the time of retirement, in addition to the award for completing 25 and 30 years of work in the factory.

Another important point to be set out in this agreement is that seasonal workers will also benefit from all points reached in the agreement.

-When will the agreement be valid?
Until now the agreement is verbal, but the company is already fulfilling some points that were negotiated which leads us to consider that at the end of 2014 we can agree on the entire agreement which will run for two years.

-How do you evaluate the process that led to the agreement?
It was not easy, as I mentioned earlier it took almost a year to reach this agreement and to achieve it we had to take an industrial action to pressure the company, and the outcome was highly positive, but still the equalization of benefits have not been all applied but we are close to it.

The original Spanish story is here: http://www.rel-uita.org/index.php/es/sectores/bebidas/item/5738-hacia-un...