Workers fold their arms at JBS against “inhuman” rhythm

About 500 workers in the poultry slaughtering sector stopped work for 40 minutes last Wednesday (6), at the JBS-Seara unit in Sidrolândia (MS), in protest against the increase in the pace of production.

Largest animal protein company in the world, JBS recorded net income of R$ 4.4 billion in the 2nd quarter of 2021, 29.7% more than in the same period last year. It was the biggest quarterly profit in the company’s history.

All chicken slaughtered and deboned in the Sidrolândia slaughterhouse is destined for export. The main buyers are the European Union, China and Japan.

In Brazil, the consumption of beef, pork and chicken has been falling since 2014. One of the reasons is the rise in prices, while the average income of Brazilian workers falls. This year alone, chicken meat should increase about 11.8%, according to data from the LCA consultancy released by state.

Before the pandemic, that unit slaughtered 180,000 chickens a day. This year, the daily production increased 16.6% and reached 210 thousand. There are three work shifts, from Monday to Saturday.

In September, the Brazil in fact reported exclusively that JBS offered a barbecue to slaughter employees, to try to attract them to work on Sunday. Due to the repercussion of the matter and an action by the Regional Labor Attorney of the 24th Region, the event was brought forward, and Sundays are still a day of rest.

the standstill

“Workers have been complaining for days. They couldn’t take it anymore. As the manager and supervision did not take action, the workers left their work, left the cutting room and came to the lobby”, reports Sérgio Bolzan, vice president of the Sidrolândia Meat and Poultry Industry Workers Union (Sindaves).

In reaction to the protest, the unit’s production manager and human resources manager called five workers and two union directors to negotiate a return to work.

The company would have committed to resolve issues related to the quality of materials at slaughter – knives and “frog”, material used to sharpen them.

“Reducing the work pace was the main demand, but this the company did not discuss. They want to shift the focus”, analyzes Bolzan.

lack of labor

During the pandemic, 500 indigenous workers were removed for being part of a risk group. Even with the reduction in labor, the production pace did not drop, and reached 190,000, according to data from Sindaves.

Today, about 1.7 workers work in the slaughtering sector, with 180 on leave by Social Security. The number of active employees is practically the same as when the unit slaughtered 180,000 chickens a day.

In the unit’s total, there are 200 workers on leave by the INSS – approximately one in ten. The union points out that most cases are related to repetitive movements.

“More repetitive strain injuries, which are a reflection of the increased work rate, will start now. Generally, they appear 6 to 8 months later”, reports the vice-president of Sindaves.

“Many workers at the unit are leaving, asking for the bills, because they can’t take it anymore.”

referrals

After the stoppage, the company signaled that it intends to meet with workers to hear their demands and propose alternatives.

“The company wants to hold a meeting between today [7] it’s tomorrow [8], but he does not accept that the president of Sindaves and I participate in these spaces”, questions Bolzan.

“The meat industry in Brazil never profits as much as in the pandemic. JBS practically doubled the revenue. We are not against increasing production, as long as the company provides conditions, hires more workers, expands production lines, and ensures an accessible pace. The way it is done today, it is inhumane with the workers, because it still pressures the workers not to ask for a certificate.”

On September 30th and September 6th, Sindaves protested at the company’s door. On the 11th, the workers’ representatives will hold a seminar with the participation of the Public Ministry. The idea is to denounce the increase in the pace of production and, according to JBS’ response, try to curb activities through public civil action.

O Brazil in fact presented the criticisms and questions to JBS. The company only replied “that the Sidrolândia unit is in talks with some employees who carried out a mobilization yesterday morning (6) and informs that the plant operates normally.”

Edition: Leandro Melito

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