Published: 26/07/2011

A twenty-two day strike by workers at Peru’s upscale La Ibérica chocolate maker – including a week’s hunger strike – have resulted in a new collective agreement which brings important gains. Ibérica is a hundred-year-old family enterprise with a single factory in the southern city of Arequjipa but outlets throughout the country. Ninety-five of the factory’s one hundred workers are women.

Workers had been frustrated since February in their demands for a wage increase at the company where a worker with 25 years’ seniority was earning only some USD 360. A series of meetings with the labour ministry failed to bring results, prompting the union to launch an indefinite strike on June 22 and, eventually, a week-long hunger strike.

The final agreement includes an increase in the basic salary, a substantial increase in the premium for night work, increased family and school transport allowances, a signing bonus for each worker equivalent to a senior workers’ monthly wage in the first year and a smaller one in the second year of the agreement.