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The Chilean Confederation of Forestry Workers (CTF) is one of the most active unions on health and safety in the sector anywhere in the world. Fiona Murie of the global construction unions’ federation BWI explains how CTF forced one of Latin America’s biggest multinationals to the negotiating table.
BWI affiliate the Confederation of Forestry Workers (CTF) downed tools in March 2007. The indefinite strike was called to protest at exploitative working conditions imposed by forestry giant Arauco in the Southern Chilean province of the same name. Arauco provides work for 14,000 people in the province, around 25 per cent of the working population, however almost all are employed through a huge number of small contractors in forestry operations, sawmills and factories owned by the gigantic company.
The union says there is increasing pressure
to produce more with fewer workers. Workers endure miserable salaries
and dangerous, arduous work. Indiscriminate use of pesticides causes ill-health
and environmental contamination. CTF president Jorge Gonzalez says Arauco
has used the contractors as an alibi to avoid negotiating with the union
Building and Woodworkers International (BWI)
HAZARDS MAGAZINE WORKERS' HEALTH INTERNATIONAL NEWS