The President of the Republic of Uruguay, José Mujica attended the opening of the UNI Americas Regional Conference in Montevideo where the Uruguayan Labour Minister, Eduardo Brenta reminded the international participants that 100% of workers in Uruguay have the right to a collective agreement but said there was more to be done.
Minister Brenta told the 400 union leaders gathered from across the Americas and beyond that, “Uruguay has instituted a law that gives all workers the right to a collective agreement. We have seen significant progress for workers’ rights since the Left took office in 2005. The number of union affiliates has quadrupled thanks to the efforts of the workers. We know there is still a lot of work to be done and we will continue to collaborate strongly with the PIT-CNT (the Uruguayan trade union centre).”During the opening ceremony which included a performance of traditional drumming, UNI Global Union President Joe de Bruyn, said, “We have come to beat the drum for workers’ rights across the Americas and the Caribbean and to show international solidarity. We have seen some great wins in UNI’s Breaking Through strategy here in the Americas. UNI’s global agreement with Carrefour has been applied in Columbia giving hope and support 4000 workers. In the US, the UNI Walmart Global Alliance was with the Walmart workers when they took historic strike action demanding increased pay and respect. The company felt compelled to say they would take no action against the strikers if they came back to work. This led to more workouts as the workers realised they were seriously disadvantaged. This is extraordinary and UNI stands with them.”
The President of UNI America Ruben Cortina added, “Walmart workers in the US are losing their fear and saying no to management and they are striking. We joined them and we were with them when they returned in the early morning. We will be back with them many times in the future.”
Fernand Pereyra, representing PIT-CNT said, “We welcome all participants in the spirit of solidarity. When our brothers and sisters were in prison during the dictatorship, other countries including Spain showed solidarity with us. Now it is our turn to show it to those suffering in Europe and elsewhere (because of the crisis).”
More than 400 participants from 33 countries across the Americas are in Montevideo for the UNI Americas Regional meeting to voice international solidarity and to “beat the drum” for strong unions in multinationals, union growth and a new momentum for collective bargaining – the essentials of sustainable development in the Americas.
UNI Americas is UNI Global Union´s regional organisation for communications and services.
UNI Americas represent 4 million female and male workers from the Americas and the Caribbean. UNI Global Union is the voice of 20 million service sector workers around the world. Through 900 affiliated unions, UNI represents workers in 150 countries and in every region of the world. UNI represents workers in the Cleaning & Security; Commerce; Finance; Gaming; Graphical & Packaging; Hair & Beauty; ICTS; Media, Entertainment & Arts; Post & Logistics; Social Insurance; Sport; Temp & Agency Workers and Tourism industries.
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