Preserving the undivided strategy is top priority

FELATRAN at the 3rd International Conference of the Dairy Sector

With Melquíades de Araújo
Preserving the undivided strategy
is top priority
20140408 araujo-610
He is Chairman of the Food Industry Workers’ Federation of the State of São Paulo (FETIASP) and of the Latin American Federation of Workers of Nestlé. Melquíades was interviewed by La Rel at the International Conference of the Dairy Sector which took place in Argentina.
-What is your present opinion about the Felatran? 
-The Felatran, as well as the other Federations under the process of creation in Latin America, is a great strategic idea of our Regional Secretary Gerardo Iglesias.
It has enabled us to unite our claims to an even greater degree and have improved conditions for discussing the problems of Nestlé in Latin America.
At first, the managers of Nestlé in Brazil did not recognize Felatran as an interested party acting in the negotiations and discussions with unions. But today, in addition to having agreements signed on behalf of the Felatran –no matter how small they may be-, we have also achieved an official correspondence which implies the Federation has been acknowledged.
This organizational strategy has led to new spaces where today we represent Latin America along with the General Secretary of IUF Latin America, as part of a global scenario of relations with Nestlé which we could not access before.
Previously we could only submit reports that were presented by third parties and now we can share the same table for debating all issues. This is an indication of the new significance of Felatran.
-What is the current situation of the Federation?
-It’s doing fine, with advances, gaining respect and taking part in discussions about the company in Latin America which are really important.
Maybe we still lack a smoother information exchange between the unions and the national federation in relation to the Felatran so as to have a more agile participation whenever needed.
We already gained experience in putting the pressure on the company, both at the Latin American and at the global levels, and this is possible to a great extent, thanks to the Felatran.
For example, acting as Felatran we were able to deliver to the world managers of Nestlé in Geneva the same memorandum with the same claims presented to the company’s chairman in Brazil, based on information we gathered at the last meeting of the Federation’s Executive Committee in São Paulo.
This means that facts that were usually hidden from the world directors by the local directors of Nestlé are now evident thanks to the action of the Felatran. This enables us to detect «local inventions» as opposed to worldwide policies of Nestlé.
-Do you know if in other regions the Nestlé unions are organized into Federations?
-I don’t think they are. There are blocks as is the case in Europe and Asia, but they are not specific federations.
All the Nestlé unions from the region participate at the Felatran, which I consider a great tool and an excellent way to promote the workers’ unity.
-What is your opinion about this 3rd Conference?
Héctor Ponce is a fighter, and a great fellow worker who has shown, in the organization of this Conference and the opening of a great Technology Education Center, the strength of Atilra and of the Argentine workers’ unions movement.
We were also able to estimate a balance about the differences and matches between the various plants and companies of Nestlé in Latin America.
I think that we must pursue the debate in depth and even when differences might arise, we should work mostly on those things that we have in common and are a reason for union between us.
And that specifically is the proposal of Héctor and the IUF Latin America: to define the sector’s unity so that the battle proves positive for all workers.