Strike brings gains for Fonterra Chile dairy workers
Nearly two weeks after launching an unlimited strike at the Prolesur dairy plant in Osorno, Chile, 120 members of the Chilean Federation of Dairy Company Workers’ Unions (FENATRAL) have won a collective agreement bringing substantial gains in wages and benefits. Prolesur is a subsidiary of Soprole, Chile’s largest dairy company, which is 99.8% owned by New Zealand-based Fonterra.
The agreement, which considerably harmonizes the wage and benefit disparities between Prolesur Osorno and other company facilities, brings a 6.&% wage increase as well as a monthly “profitability” bonus of USD 365 per month, which is to be paid regardless of whether the company shows a profit in any given month. The contract also includes improved holiday, vacation and thirteenth-month salary benefits.
FENATRAL President Aldo Lezana noted with satisfaction that the union had emerged greatly strengthened from the conflict – “the first time ever that Soprole has yielded to a mobilization, protest or strike by its workers” after initially refusing to move from its “final” offer.
According to Lezana “The solidarity from the IUF and from sister organizations such as the New Zealand Dairy Workers Union (NZDWU) [the union organizing Fonterra workers in the company’s home country of New Zealand] was instrumental in reaching a solution in this conflict.”