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BWI - Building and Wood Worker's International

10/10/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/10/2019 04:24

Chile: 12 days of strike in Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project

Project entry with strike signs

After the 32-day strike of 2016 led by SINTEC/FETRACOMA, an organization affiliated to BWI in Chile, construction workers are again forced to start an indefinite strike, this time, against STRABAG's proposals in the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project.

The project, originally led by Hochtief, was paralyzed in 2016 for 32 days due to anti-union practices, dismissal of 320 workers and police intimidation. In December 2016, Hochtief signed a 'Partial Agreement' with SINTEC/FETRACOMA in which the strike was terminated. Unfortunately, now history seems to repeat itself.

After starting the negotiation process of this year Collective Bargaining Agreement on July 30 with STRABAG, SINTEC/FETRACOMA denounced company's initiative to reduce wages by 20%, project's workforce reduction of 30%, grant $ 1 million Chilean pesos (approximately USD 1,400) to each unionized and dismissed worker of 2016 conflict and eliminate all benefits achieved in the previous CBA. After refusing to continue negotiations with SINTEC/FETRACOMA, the company terminated the process and the union declared an indefinite strike since 29 September.

In response, on 1 October, STRABAG suspended the housing services of workers in San José de Maipo and closed the entrance to the camps. Likewise, the company determined not to provide food to workers in production areas and denied the delivery of transportation from San José de Maipo to the area where the project is located.

Since strike starts until today, BWI has sent its solidarity support to the striking workers. Trade unions in Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Panama and the Dominican Republic have sent letters of protest to the company in Chile and messages of support to the strikers.