As the Brazilian Ministry of Labour, backed by corporate interests, prepares to amend NR 36 regulations which govern health and safety in the country’s meat industry, the IUF European regional organization EFFAT convened a multi-regional IUF meeting with German Member of European Parliament (MEP) Bernd Lange, Chair of the Trade Committee at the European Parliament.
Following 15 years of national and international campaigning for safer meat and poultry workplaces, the adoption of NR 36 in meat and poultry processing in 2013 was a major advance in Brazil. Repealing or amending this measure would:
- Undermine the health and safety of over 500, 000 workers in an industry rampant with injuries
- Deny the participation of workers and their trade unions in developing and monitoring health and safety in the workplace in line with international standards including C155 on occupational health and safety
- Contradict international developments on occupational health and safety and run counter to discussions this year at the International Labour Organisation to upgrade occupational health and safety to be a fundamental principle and right at work
Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT General Secretary, said: ‘’The fight of our Brazilian colleagues is our fight. At EFFAT we think that international trade should never lead to a global race to the bottom in terms of rights and working conditions through unfair competition.”
Gerardo Iglesias, IUF Latin America Regional Secretary, further stated: “Some ten to twenty thousand indigenous workers are employed in Brazil’s meatpacking plants. The repeal of the NR36 would be greatly detrimental to the communities who turn to hours-long commuting to meatpacking plants and other large industries for employment because they’re left with little land due to deforestation.”