Argentina: One step closer to justice for the 120 dismissed ceramist workers in San Lorenzo

The Belgian National Contact Person (NCP) of the OECD has accepted a complaint filed by the Building and Wood Workers’ International and its Argentinian affiliate — Ceramic Workers' Union of the Republic of Argentina (FOCRA) — against the Belgian ETEX Group under the OECD Multinational Enterprise Guidelines. 

Since mid-2015, the BWI and FOCRA has internationally denounced the process of massive dismissals of ceramists workers carried out by the company Cerámica San Lorenzo in Argentina, a subsidiary of the Belgian Etex Group. More than 120 workers have been laid off in complete disrespect not only to the National Collective Bargaining Agreement that applies to all ceramist industry in the country - but also to international labour standards and guidelines. 

In response to this situation, BWI and FOCRA presented an international complaint to the OECD on the 19th of February 2016, arguing against the lack of evidence of the economic crisis that the company uses as a justification for the layoffs, but also denouncing unwillingness to reach an agreement with FOCRA despite multiple meetings. 

"Despite the union’s consistent efforts to negotiate in good faith with the local management at Cerámica San Lorenzo, unfortunately there has been no concrete resolution regarding the dismissed workers. With the acceptance of the complaint by the Belgian NCP, there is another avenue to negotiate to seek remedy for the workers at Cerámica San Lorenzo,” stated Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI. 

Following its acceptance of the case, the Belgian National Contact Point will now offer its good offices to BWI and ETEX for the purpose of reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.