Nestlé Chile workers go on strike
With Blas de Mir Pidal

“United we triumph”

Workers organized in the Number 1 and 2 Unions of Nestlé Graneros and the Nestlé Los Ángeles Union voted on July 24 to go on strike to pressure the transnational corporation into sitting down to negotiate with Labor Ministry mediators.

La Rel spoke with Blas de Mir Pidal, president of the Number 2 Union of Nestlé Graneros, to learn more about this action set to begin on Tuesday, July 28.

“On July 24, we put this to a vote online in the Number 1 and 2 Unions of Graneros and onsite in the Los Ángeles Union, and the response was an outstanding show of strength and unity from organized workers. We’re very pleased,” this leader said.

According to Blas, while the negotiation and signing of an agreement is still far off, the outcome of the vote demonstrates great labor power and unity.

Out of a total of 665 workers, 535 voted to go on strike, and now we have moved on to the good offices stage,” he informed.

Blas stressed that despite the pressure they are under from the transnational corporation, union members are not willing to yield.

Time to negotiate

“In the unions, we are maintaining a civilized stance, one of peaceful but forceful mobilization. Ninety-four percent voted against Nestlé’s last proposal, which represented a real step backwards for labor gains.”

He considers that “a major precedent has been set” with the “streamlining of the process through this digital vote, in view of the context of the pandemic and the threats and harassment directed at workers, and the fact that they voted overwhelmingly in favor of the strike.”

The labor leader expressed his appreciation for the constant support from Felatran and sister unions in the region, which showed their solidarity through Rel UITA (IUF Latin America).

Blas added that they hope that with the government’s mediation Nestlé will revise its position and offer its workers what they rightly deserve.
“If an agreement is not reached in the good offices stage, we will take this to the very end, because as workers we are determined to move forward always and never lose ground,” he stressed.

The good offices process begins tomorrow, Tuesday, July 28, and the union is optimistic that an agreement favorable to its interests will be secured.

Neither Nestlé nor the workers benefit from a work stoppage, but in the current global context the company has more to lose, because the bulk of what it produces in Graneros is exported.

There were no victors here. What stands out is the unity of organized workers,” Blas insisted.