Wednesday, August 05, 2009

As the following item from the Sudbury Star, courtesy of the Vale Inco strike support site Fair Deal Now says the Brazilian government "has some issues" with the parent company of Vale Inco in its home country of Brazil. this is all fair and good, but given the track record of the PT government of Lula in Brazil it is obvious that the workers of this company can expect little but noise from the social democrats ensconced in Brazil's political ruling class. It is even less likely that the statist ruling class of Brazil will even "say boo" to the foreign workers ie the Steelworkers in Canada, who are presently on strike against the company. To say the least this is one more example (amongst perhaps tens of thousands) where ultimate faith is put into a belief in the political process and the role of social democratic parties in same.
The situation here is perhaps an even more egregious example than the usual blind faith of too many union leaders and, unfortunately, ordinary union members in the idea of the NDP as the "great Messiah" who will lead them to the promised land. In the case of the Brazilian PT it has probably accumulated in its few years in power a record of treachery equal to 20 years of NDP governments in various provinces in Canada. I guess, however, that hope springs eternal, even the ultimately unrealistic hope that a government that routinely betrays its own voter base (because they have nowhere else to go besides to a smorgasbord of ridiculous communist parties) will somehow lend its realistic support to workers outside of its own country. Dream on. The only support that matters in the end is the support of workers employed by the parent company in Brazil itself. Everything else is illusion and political posturing.
In any case, for what it is worth, here is the story from the Sudbury Star.
Brazilian president takes aim at Vale SA:
Posted By Denis St. Pierre,
The Sudbury Star
The Brazilian president's reported denunciation of huge job and investment cuts by mining giant Vale SA is being praised by the United Steelworkers union, which also decries the absence of such a position by the Canadian and Ontario governments.

"Good on Lula, bad on the Canadian government," Steelworkers District 6 director Wayne Fraser said Monday in response to news reports about Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Lula, Brazil's first-ever working- class president, wants his government to take control of Vale SA, the country's largest newsmagazine reported on the weekend.

According to the report, Lula is upset with what he considers unnecessary job cuts and curtailing of investment plans by Vale SA's chief executive officer, Roger Agnelli.

Lula asked officials to find a legal way to ensure the government controls Vale through the investment arm of Brazil's state development bank and its state-controlled employee pension fund, the magazine Veja reported, without identifying its sources.

Valepar SA, the company that controls Vale, is owned by a combination of the employee pension fund of Banco do Brasil SA; Bradespar SA, an industrial holding company; Mitsui and Co., Japan's second-largest trading company; and BNDES Participacoes SA.

Vale declined to comment on the report, a company spokesperson told Bloomberg.comon on the weekend.

Nor did Lula's press office return calls, Bloomberg said. (OOPS-gotta leave room to backtrack-Molly)

On Monday, the Steelworkers' Fraser said he is not surprised that Brazil's president would denounce what he characterized as Vale's attacks on workers and their communities, in various countries.

"Lula has said to all the Brazilian multinational companies, 'if you're moving into other countries, you're representing Brazil in these countries and the reputation of Brazil is at stake with everything you do,' " Fraser said.

"Agnelli's cutting thousands of jobs, not just here but in Brazil and elsewhere and that's not going over too well. It's their disrespect for their employees, be it in Brazil or Canada or South Africa, that is the issue here and at least the president of Brazil appears to think that's important.(Uhh- did he really say that he was or was not speaking only on matters Brazilian-Molly)

"It would be nice to see our leaders, whether it's (Ontario Premier Dalton) McGuinty or (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper, say, 'this is enough; it's time to get back to the bargaining table.' " (As if an NDP government, as they have always done, would not find a way to do the same thing while making pro-labour noises- Molly)

About 3,100 members of Steelworkers Local 6500 in Sudbury and another 125 members of Local 6200 in Port Colborne have been on strike against Vale Inco since July 13. The workers have rejected the company's demands for changes to their bonus system, pension plan and seniority rights.

About 120 to 150 Steelworkers members, employees of Vale Inco's operations in Voisey's Bay, Nfld., went on strike Saturday.

Meanwhile, Steelworkers members from Sudbury and from Vale Inco's operations in Thompson, Man., are in Port Colborne today for a rally at the union's picket line in the southern Ontario community.

"Basically, our entire bargaining committee is here to meet with the Local 6200 strikers and local residents and politicians who support our fight," said Local 6500 president John Fera.

"It's important to make sure that everybody knows that we in Sudbury and Port Colborne and Voisey's Bay are not fighting in isolation, that we are united in this."

United Steelworkers members from Sudbury travelled to Brazil on the weekend and another local delegation is headed to the South American country next week.

The trips are part of the Steelworkers campaign against Vale's actions and the union's ongoing collaborations with other international labour groups, Fraser said.
A little Molly question here:
In the age of the internet is it really necessary to send a delegation to Brazil to present a case that is already made by email (repeatedly !!!!!!!!)? Wouldn't it be better to spend the money on other matters. If nothing else there is now such a thing as "video conferencing". I will bet good money that this action will rebound to the discredit of the union when all is said and done.

1 comment:

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

The boys will be having a good old time, a real good old time, in Brazil. I never heard of anyone having one of those on a video-conference unless everybody video-conferencing was naked.