Published: 12/04/2002

SETNESSA, the IUF-affiliated Nestlé union in El Salvador, has successfully negotiated a new 2-year collective bargaining agreement at the relatively small plant.

Recent negotiations began, as in previous negotiations at Nestlé El Salvador, with charges of union-busting, threats to close the factory, etc. Faced with a ludicrously small economic offer, the union asked the IUF for assistance. The Regional Secretary publicized the situation in the union and general media, and a flood of protest messages were sent at the IUFs request from unions and other groups and individuals to Nestlé El Salvador and to Nestlé headquarters in Vevey. Faced with these expressions of solidarity, Nestlé’s negotiators began to respond with more serious economic proposals.

Rather than be provoked into a strike that could justify closing the factory, the union conducted an internal mobilization campaign. 12 of the remaining non-union workers joined the union during the campaign. Workers wore union ribbons on the job, and resisted management efforts to have them removed.

The final results were satisfactory to the union and the workers, including

1. general wage increase of 4.11 percent;
2. Annual bonus more than doubled;
3. improvements in laundry allowance, per diem allowance for international union seminars, and an increase in employer contributions to the union cultural/social fund
4. wage and limited economic reopener for 2nd year of 2 year contract.

Union organizational secretary Rafael Portillo attributes success to the mobilization of the membership and to the encouragement received by the numerous solidarity messages received through the IUF. He underlined SETNESSA’s eagerness to support other Nestlé unions in their bargaining efforts.