October 8, 2020
BRF SA facing salary talks in COVID-19 affected plant
The meat plant workers union for Brazilian BRF SA hopes to achieve a deal over pay with company management after talks resulted in partial closure of meat production on October 2, Reuters reported.
Jenir de Paula, president of the Sitracarnes union, said BRF proposed a 1% pay rise. But this was unacceptable for the 5,700 workers at the affected Chapecó plant, who are looking for a 10% pay rise.
The BRF Chapecó poultry plant in Santa Catarina state processes chicken and turkey.
Discussions will continue on October 8, with a strike proposed by workers should they be unable to reach an agreement.
BRF said the temporary disruption involved turkey production and did not have legal basis.
De Paula said annual salary talks were supposed to be discussed in June, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those talks, adding that the company has routinely tested workers and found 1,500 of them to have been infected with COVID-19 at Chapecó.
De Paula and a source close to the workers said on October 2, workers stopped specific turkey production lines to protest delayed salary talks. Following this, about 60 workers were suspended on October 5 and the company called for police presence inside the plant during the morning shift.
BRF said production resumed swiftly. The company denied that the disruption was related to the pay discussions.
De Paula said if BRF were to terminate the suspended workers, other workers will be unhappy. He said the union will try to persuade the company not to do so as discussions continue to increase salaries.