A vigorous and effective denunciation campaign succeeded this past Tuesday, June 9, in blocking the submission to congress of a proposed amendment to Provisional Measure 927, which establishes a 20-minute break for every 1.4 hours worked in meatpacking plants.
The failed amendment sought to limit thermal breaks so that they would only apply to plant operators working at temperatures below 4° C. That meant that if the initiative passed, just 5 percent of the 500,000 workers in the sector would be entitled to such breaks.
The Campaign “Say Yes to Maintaining Thermal Breaks in the Meatpacking Industry,” launched by initiative of the Labor Prosecutor’s Office (MPT) and the National Labor Attorneys Association (ANPT), turned into a collective action that went beyond national borders to acquire global relevance.
From the IUF Latin America (Rel UITA), we want to thank CONTAC and CNTA (Brazil’s national confederations of food industry workers) , and, on their behalf, all our affiliate and fellow organizations, as well as Sweden’s Union to Union for the decades-long support to the struggle to dignify work in Brazil’s meatpacking plants.
We acknowledge and value the Justice and Human Rights Movement (MJDH-Brazil) and the Commission of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), for lending their support by posting the campaign on their websites, as they understand that casualization of labor is an open wound that undermines human rights.
The legislator behind the amendment, federal congressman Celso Maldaner (MDB-Santa Catarina), acted at the request of the industry itself. We can therefore expect this onslaught to continue, as the goal of business owners is to roll back the gains secured through NR36, a health and safety standard that regulates working conditions in slaughterhouses and meat and byproducts processing plants.
Today we have won a major battle. We are satisfied, but we know that this is just the first of many battles yet to come, and we must remain vigilant.
We are our shield! The struggle pays off!