Peru: Artesco-Staedtler workers denounce anti-union practices
Workers employed at the ARTESCO in Peru, a subsidiary of Staedtler Germany, held a protest action last week in front of their company's facilities due to the breakdown of collective bargaining negotiations, suspension of union members during the COVID-19 lockdown and other anti-union practices.
The union said that the company derailed collective bargaining negotiations when it refused to maintain, at the very least, the terms and conditions established in the workers’ previous CBA.
"Aware of the crisis caused by COVID-19 in the country, we have requested the company to at least maintain the basic conditions as provided by our previous CBA. Disappointingly, the company refused to do so,” SUTRART Secretary General Marco Tiburcio Salazar said.
SUTRART said that the company has resorted to numerous anti-union schemes such as the implementation of the “perfect suspension of activities”, a Peruvian legal concept that allows companies to paralyse its operations during a crisis and send their workers home without paying their salaries and/or providing compensation. The union said that the company has no legal basis to do this as it did not fully stop its operations and has even called on non-unionised workers to report for work.
However, the company reportedly wants to extend the implementation of the “perfect suspension” until January 2021. If this pushes through, more than 50 union members, who have not received their salaries since March, must wait until next year to return to work.
Currently, around 200 workers have already been forced to resign and accept unfair payments due to the company’s stubborn refusal to negotiate with the union.
Aside from this, the union said that the company is employing other schemes to harass workers, such as asking them to resign as union members as requirement to be called back to work and bypassing the union by communicating directly to its members.
BWI has extended its support and assistance to SUTRART by connecting it to Staedtler Germany to call the company’s attention to the issues and concerns raised by the workers of its subsidiary in Peru.
BWI and IG Metall has an International Framework Agreement (IFA) with Staedtler.