Brazil: Thousands of mining and steelworkers from CSN on strike

Demonstration with the mobilized rank and file and the support of CSP-Conlutas in Volta Redonda-RJ | Photo: Lucas Martins

Originally published by CSP-CONLUTAS

Around 20,000 workers of mining and steel giant CSN are on strike in three cities (Port of Itaguaí, Volta Redonda and Congonhas) in Brazil. 12 thousand workers from Volta Redonda stopped work. The workers are demanding a 30% pay adjustment, which is equivalent to the accumulated salary loss over the last three years. During this period, the employees had no salary increase.

CSN dismisses militant leaders of the mobilization for fair wages and rights

The absence of dialogue has marked the position of CSN since the beginning of the strike. Now, in an authoritarian action aimed at repressing the strong mobilization of the comrades from CSN’s Presidente Vargas Unit, in Volta Redonda (RJ), the company management dismissed workers who are members of the workers’ committee, on this Monday (April 11).

The dismissals are unacceptable and are a blatant political persecution, since the group was participating in the negotiations on the collective agreement. Despite the attack, the mobilization continues strong and begins a second week with strikes inside the factory.

Historic voting

On 8 April, over six thousand workers voted no to the collective contract proposal presented by the company. There were 99.3% of votes, rejecting the index of 8.1 % of wage replacement. The amount does not even cover inflation over the last 12 months (10.74%). For two years the workers have not received a salary adjustment, a period in which the company and its shareholders made record profits. Only in 2021 were R$ 13 billion.

Meanwhile, the workers claim 30% of readjustment, higher PLR (participation on the profits or results), assistance for food of R$ 800, extra bonus at Christmas, minimum wage of R$ 1,815, salary equalization, implementation of the career plan, job stability, hiring of workers in the Trainee program and payment of the days on strike. Another demand incorporated by the movement is the annulment of the dismissals against the strikers.

A movement based on the rank and file

What defines the mobilization in Volta Redonda the most is the leading role of the rank-and-file workers. Challenging the direction of the labor union, they took the lead in the struggle, moved by the unity and the need to guarantee a dignified life for their families.

That’s why it’s crucial that the working class demonstrates solidarity with the mobilization of the CSN workers. With other sectors of the working class on strike or mobilizing in the country, like the cleaners in Rio de Janeiro and public workers across the country, it’s necessary to work to unify the struggles. This is the path to a general strike to defeat the Bolsonaro government and its policy of attacking workers.

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