Salmon farm industry workers demand standstill of production to protect Chiloé, Aysén and Magallanes from Coronavirus

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The call for «complete standstill» is backed by the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), which points out that the Coronavirus situation «has generated a lot of fear in the population and a lot of fear for workers’ families, who have not been approached with any means of support from the companies. And if the industry does not take on this social role for their workers, it is difficult to demand that workers stay on their shifts».

 

Chiloé, March 23, 2020. (radiodelmar.cl)– With the objective of neither contracting nor spreading the Coronavirus pandemic, the women and men who work in the salmon farming industry in the south of Chile demand that Piñera’s regime establishes a «complete standstill of work to protect the lives of all the people who work in this sector, as well as their families», especially in the Chiloé archipelago, Puerto Montt and in the southern regions of Aysén and Magallanes.

 

The National Confederation of Salmon and Mussel Farm Workers (CONATRASAL) emphasises that «we now call for a halt of all companies, otherwise this will lead to an impending collective death.»

 

According to John Hurtado, president of Conatrasal  «these salmon farm companies make large profits each year and now is the time in which the industries could return the sacrifice of the workers, who have helped them multiply the coffers with their long working hours and miserable salaries».

 

The call for «complete standstill» is backed by the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) which notes that the coronavirus situation «has generated a lot of fear in the population and a lot of fear for the workers’ families, who have not been approached with any means of support from the companies. And if the industry does not take on this social role for their workers, it is difficult to demand that workers stay on their shifts».

 

In the context of the salmon farm industry being a food-producing sector, the president of the CUT Llanquihue, José Pachecó, confirms that «the government calls for maintaining the productivity matrix, in order to not generate a food crisis», but we remind Piñera that «90% of the salmon are destined for foreign markets».

 

The president of CUT Llanquihue states that «the three southern regions of Chile should join this standstill» and adds that «the salmon farm industry wants to maintain the validity of their production at the expense of their workers’ sacrifice, but they do not recognise the labour of the workforce, while the companies have accumulated millions of dollars in profits».

 

At the same time, Gustavo Cortez, leader of the Conatrasal in Quellón, said that «in this moment of crisis, it is necessary to create unity and dialogue between the labour unions and we have to advance by acknowledge each other and look to the future, but now the companies have to show proof of their promise to Quellón, Chiloé and its workers, and have to uphold the contracts and salaries».

 

Cortez added that if the demand is «the suspension of labour, it needs to be in all cities where there are companies processing salmon, because if only Chiloé stops, then the employers could bring their salmon to be filleted to Puerto Montt or even in the Bio-Bio region.»

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