Nestlé Workers in Tunisia Continue Industrial Action After Secret Sale of Ice Cream Factory
Update 1 Feb 2010: Negotiations have taken place between the Nestlé union and Nestlé Tunisia management under the auspices of the Labour Inspectorate. Details will follow shortly.
Workers, their union and the Federation of Food and Tourism Workers of Tunisia (FGAT) are demanding to know the facts behind Nestlé’s secret sale of an ice cream factory.
Following strike action on 3-4 December (click here for previous story) and failed mediation under the auspices of the Labour Inspectorate, the workforce at the Nestlé ice cream factory in Carthage went out on strike again on 27-30 December.
On 17 November 2009, workers at the Nestlé ice cream factory in Carthage were informed by a bulletin board notice that their factory had been sold. Not to worry, though, Nestlé assured the workers that they would all be transferred to the new owners with all their rights intact.
The problem is that Nestlé refuses to provide details about the terms of the sale. The Labour Inspectorate, when summoning the parties to mediation, specifically demanded that the details of the social provisions included in the sale agreement be provided. But Nestlé only provided an affidavit signed by a lawyer stating that he was present at the time of the sale negotiations and could confirm that the rights of the workers will be protected.
The transfer of undertaking is scheduled to take place on January 1, which is when all 105 workers on the payroll of Nestlé Ice Cream Tunisia will be transferred to a new employer. The union has been calling for negotiations over the future of these workers, many of whom had only recently been transferred from other Nestlé Tunisia enterprises to the ice cream business, a detail, which in light of the sale and the secretivensss surrounding it, raises additional questions.
In an attempt to silence him, Nestlé has transferred the union’s general secretary, Habib Ben Aifa from his position as sales representative for Nestlé Nutrition to a desk job with a set of tasks which he completed within a week of the transfer. He continues to report to work, where he is under constant surveillance.
ACT NOW! Tell Nestlé you support their Tunisian workers’ fair demands
The Nestlé Tunisia Union and the Federation of Food and Tourism Workers are demanding (1) negotiations over the future of the 105 ice cream workers and (2) end the harassment of the union and reinstate its general secretary to his former function in the company. Show your support and send off a message today!
Please note that it is possible you will get an “undelivered” message since it would appear that Nestlé is systematically blocking messages concerning this particular issue. The IUF will ensure that Nestlé receives all messages.