1997, april 18 - national strike suspended for negotiations in its first day
the workers at the santos port (brazil) have just gone back to their jobs at cosipa's berth. a temporary agreement was reached with the company in order to discuss the working conditions as a whole. there will be a truce until april 30 in order to allow the discussion of a collective agreement. in this period the ships handled at cosipa's private berth will be handled both by the dockers and the workers hired by the company. the first meeting for the discussion of this collective agreement will take place on tuesday, april 22.
the national strike declared this morning, april 18, has been suspended, including at the santos port, which had been paralysed since april 15, as a reaction to the assault to the two ships, "cancouver" and "marcos dias", which had been occupied by the workers since april 2. the work in all ports will be resumed from today (april 19) at 7 am.
more than 300 thousand tonnes of cargo had not been handled in santos because of the protest strike, which today, april 18 reached its fourth day. 38 ships were paralysed in the berths and 21 others outside the port. there were solidarity strikes in the most important brazilian ports. 66,000 brazilian port workers struck and organised solidarity demonstrations against the exclusion of unionised labour from the work at cosipa. apart from santos, the largest latin-american port, the ports of rio de janeiro, rio grande, porto alegre, imbituba and sao francisco were also paralysed.
according to the co-ordinator of the santos port interunion organisation, joaquim da silve (quincas) president of the dockers union, "the most important thing about this truce is the reopening of the negotiations, to a table, from where they should never have left".
for him, to force cosipa back to the negotiations was a partial victory, important in order to put the debate about the ports back to where it belongs. "this difficult phase of the workers movement we are going through here, also shows the importance of combining effective actions with and effort of international communications and support in order to spread the word about the worker's struggle" he said.
jose tarcisco florentino da silva, president of the sindicatop dos conferentes and vice president of the federacao dos trabalhadores avulsos (fenccovib) also stressed the importance of world-wide solidarity: "we know this is not just a brazilian struggle or a struggle of the santos port. the same kind of problems apply in different countries. disputes like the one in liverpool, in seoul, in amsterdam and now in rotterdam are the result of a deliberate project of casualisation of labour relations and cuts in wages. the workers need to organise a global response to this project".
the world : south america : brazil