Uruguayan fish processing plants accuse unions of dismantling the industry — MercoPress
Uruguayan fish processing plants accuse unions of dismantling the industry
The Uruguayan Chamber of the Fishing Industry, CIPU, announced that one of its associates had been forced to send 80 workers on unemployment insurance because there was a lack of fish to process, following the conflict. in fishing vessels. The Chamber claimed that in a decade the fishing industry has been cut in half due to ongoing labor disputes.
“On February 21, Novabarca SA completed the processing of all the fish it had in the cold room, and was therefore forced to cease its activities and send 80 workers to unemployment insurance,” the statement said. the CIPU.
It is the result of a protracted conflict, “as irrational and as usual” that has caused the company to stop receiving raw material since January 13. On that day, the Maritime Workers’ Union launched industrial action against a fishing company, Tolimar, with effect on the entire Uruguayan fishing fleet. The company’s six operating vessels were forced to remain in port, prevented from going out to sea to provide Novabarca with catch. The processing plant normally employs 200 people, but since the start of the conflict, it has only 80.
As for Tolimar, it seems that it has hired two companies for its operations in the port and that it has decided to keep only one.
Following an incident in the port of Montevideo, with threats against the workers of the remaining company, the Union of Sea Workers decided to go on strike in support of the dismissed workers and did not fish. On February 8, the strike was lifted, but on the same day, the fishing captains’ union, SUDEPPU, launched its own industrial action demanding payment or unemployment insurance for the days without income due to the strike of the other union. Eventually, the unions involved decided to join the strike positions.
CIPU adds that unlike Chile and Argentina where the fishing industry modernized and expanded, from 2006 to 2019, in Uruguay it experienced an 80% collapse in terms of GDP.
“Extreme social conflicts are one of the main causes of the decline in industrial activity, if not the main one. The reduced Uruguayan fishing fleet has lost 50% of its capacity and operates on average only 180 days a year. The recurring and prolonged conflicts with the teams have an immediate impact on the work of the processing plants, mostly women. They are the silent victims of the indolent unions which in a decade have caused the dismantling of an entire sector and the loss of thousands of jobs,” concludes the CIPU press release.