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Nestlé European Trade Unions affirm their solidarity with Nestlé workers world-wide

10 July 2012 Feature
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Representatives of Nestlé unions from across Europe, meeting prior to the European Works Council (NECIC) meeting on June 19, heard details of the recent settlement of the conflicts at Nestlé in Indonesia and Pakistan and reaffirmed their determination to stand together with brothers and sisters at Nestlé whenever and wherever a conflict situation may arise.

Nestlé EWC Chair Peter Schmidt (NGG) read out the message of appreciation sent by Eko Sumaryono, President of the Nestlé Panjang Workers Union (SBNIP):

There are so many things we want to tell you: The moments of hardship and the moment when we tearfully hugged our wives, knowing that we had won. The moment when even our 4-year-olds could enjoy the victory and yell: "Hidup buruh, hidup serikat buruh!" ("Long live workers, long live the union!"). What better way to teach our children about struggle?

This struggle has taught us a lot. The most important thing was that we can survive in this struggle thanks to the working class movement and solidarity actions.
No one can beat the chain of solidarity. It was there, it is there, and will forever be there.

Yesterday afternoon, after our first day of reinstatement, I called our members to a meeting. The agenda of the meeting was how to convey our gratitude for this victory to all who contributed to it. Then members and their wives started an argument. A big one! Some members proposed to send presents, but others said there were too many people to send presents to. Some members proposed to have another rally with "We Are the 53" t-shirts but holding a "thank you" banner. But of course it is impossible, the campaign is over.
The wives suggested inviting IUF leaders to Lampung, "We will cook the most delicious food for them. Do not worry!" But the husbands said "That's silly. Do you know how far this place is from theirs? It will cost lots of money only for a dinner!"
Then everyone went silent. Confused. Then a teenage daughter of one of our members said, "Why don't you send them a letter? I think they will understand that you all want to thank them. Just send them a few words".
It is in fact true.

So, on behalf of all SBNIP's members and their families, I then wrote this simple letter to you. The letter that we never thought of before, because we thought it would not be enough to express our feelings, to convey our gratitude. But then, this is from us.

I convey to you warmest greetings and thanks from "the 53", other members, their wives, their children, and their relatives and neighbors. Thank you very much.

Click here for a photo of the Smiles in Panjang.

At the close of the meeting Nestlé European Works Council members posed for a group photo, which was sent to the SBNIP as a token of continuing support.