Country Rating: 3

  • Regular violation of rights

  • Government and/or companies are regularly interfering in collective labour rights or are failling to fully guarantee important aspects of these rights. There are deficiencies in laws and/or certain practices which make frequent violations possible.

Anti-trade union practices at SABESP: In August 2013, the state-owned Saneamiento Básico del Estado de Sao Paulo (SABESP) made staff cuts, including the dismissal of 31 trade union leaders.

Anti-trade union stance at TV Paraíba: In July 2013, after the setting up of the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores em Empresas de Radiodifusão e Televisão de Campina Grande, Televisão Paraíba began a campaign to crush the union, dismissing and harassing trade union leaders.

Banco Santander's anti-trade union practices: On 11 April 2013, Brazilian workers at the Santander Group delayed the opening of branches in protest against dismissals, job rotations, excessive targets and harassment and to press for better health, security and working conditions, as well as equal opportunities and the acknowledgement of retired workers.

This action was part of the National Day of Action during which a series of protests took place throughout the country, condemning certain banking practices that are damaging to banking workers and have repercussions on the levels of customer service.

In response, Santander brought a case claiming moral damages against the Sindicato dos Bancários e Financiários de São Paulo, Osasco e Região, the Federação dos Trabalhadores em Empresas de Crédito de São Paulo (FETEC/SP) and the Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores no Ramo Financeiro (CONTRAF), alleging that the actions of these organisations had caused "irreparable damage to Santander's image (...) bordering on barbarity", to quote the terms used in the legal action.

The bank employed the strategy of bringing an issue before the courts that should be addressed in the workplace. CONTRAF commented that this type of anti-trade union practice had been used by the financial institution in 2011 in an attempt to intimidate workers' representatives.

Dispute in hospitality sector in Curitiba: On 30 November 2013, hospitality sector workers in Curitiba took strike action in support of their demand for better pay and working conditions. According to the Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Turismo e Hospitalidade (CONTRATUH), employers responded with an injunction prohibiting the strikers from holding noisy demonstrations in the vicinity of the hotels or restaurants involved in the dispute.

Public servants in Roraima do not have the right to strike: In July 2013, a strike by police officers in Roraima state was declared illegal by a labour court ruling. The judge ruled that the trade union had complied with all the criteria to call a strike, but that the sector was considered an "essential service". In 2012, public servants working in education in Roraima were hit by a state court ruling that the strike must cease, failing which daily fines of R$100,000 (US$43,000) for the trade union, R$2,000 (US$860) for each trade union leader and R$200 (US$86) for each participant in the strike would be payable.

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