Workers on the slaughter line at the HKScan meat factory in Rakvere, Estonia have been on strike since February 6 for their right to union recognition and a wage increase through collective bargaining. In November last year, HKScan management rejected the recommendation of a government mediator to settle the dispute by signing a collective agreement and is attempting to bust the newly established union at the plant by establishing a ‘cooperation committee’ and unilaterally determining the wage scale.
Workers at the plant began to organize following a spontaneous strike in October, with support from the manufacturing union IMTAL. IMTAL now has over a hundred members at the plant and the union is supporting the strike by the slaughter line workers.
The IUF has written HKScan to draw attention to the company’s human rights violations and has offered all practical support to the striking workers, who have also received strong support from the Finnish food workers union SEL.
Finnish-based transnational HKScan, which produces and markets, pork, beef, poultry and lamb products, processed meats, and convenience foods, has processing plants in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland.