Guatemala: Workers' World Council calls on Ternium to end union-busting campaign & recognize local trade union’s rights

On July 6 2017, Workers’ World Council protested in front of Ternium manufacturing steel plant after Ternium management failed to respond to the Council’s repeated requests for a meeting. The protest was met by dozen armed guards, police and military police. The Council and workers affiliated to FETRAS Sintraternium called on the company 'to end its union busting campaign' and 'to formally recognize the Council and work with it collaboratively in areas of common interest including health and safety'. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ternium to respond but it did not.

In September 2017, IndustriALL, Sitraternium and the Canadian branch of IndustriALL’s North American affiliate, United Steelworkers (USW), filed a complaint under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises at the OECD National Contact Point in Luxembourg, where the company is headquartered. The complaint was filed with the allegation that Ternium has been avoiding to recognise and bargain with Sitraternium thus violating workers’ rights. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ternium to respond but it did not.

 

(photo credit: IndustriALL)

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Article
3 October 2017

IndustriALL files OECD complaint against steel producer Ternium

Author: IndustriALL

"IndustriALL Files OECD Complaint Against Steel Producer Ternium," 14 September 2017

IndustriALL Global Union has lodged an OECD complaint against multinational steel producer Ternium for refusing to recognize and negotiate with a trade union at its operations in Guatemala.

Sitraternium, which is affiliated to IndustriALL through the FESTRAS trade union in Guatemala, has been struggling for recognition at Ternium since it was officially registered in March 2012. Workers came together to unionize after they were threatened with dismissal for raising concerns about long working hours, low salaries, lack of proper vacation and insufficient health coverage. Initially the company sacked all Sitraternium’s 27 founding members but was eventually forced by the courts to reinstate them. The company made repeated attempts to block recognition of the union until finally the Guatemalan Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of Sitraternium in February 2015. Despite the ruling and numerous appeals for dialogue from the Ministry of Labour, Ternium is breaking the law by refusing to negotiate with the union. While the Ministry says it is sympathetic to the union, it has failed to penalize Ternium for its illegal behaviour...

Ternium, which is headquartered in OECD member-country Luxembourg, is one of the biggest steel companies in Latin America with more than 19,000 workers at production facilities in Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, as well as the United States...

The complaint is being filed at the OECD National Contact Point in Luxembourg by IndustriALL, Sitraternium and the Canadian branch of IndustriALL’s North American affiliate, United Steelworkers (USW).

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Company non-response
3 October 2017

Ternium did not respond

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ternium to respond IndustriALL's press release announcing the filing of their complain with the Luxembourg OECD National Action Plan. Ternium did not respond.

Article
25 July 2017

Guatemala: Workers’ World Council takes fight to Ternium

Author: IndustriALL

[On 6 July 2017] Union leaders from around the world held a loud protest at the gates of steel producer,Ternium, in Guatemala City on 5 July to demand the company obey the law and negotiate with the union at the plant.They had just concluded the annual meeting of the Tenaris – Ternium Workers’ World Council, which ran from 3 to 5 July. The Council brings together unions at Ternium, which has steel manufacgturing plants across in Latin American and the US, and steel tube producer Tenaris. Both companies are held by the Luxembourg based Techint with over US$15 billion in 2016 sales. The Council scheduled the protest after Ternium management failed to respond to the Council’s repeated requests for a meeting. Instead of management, the Council was met at the plant by a couple of dozen armed guards, police and military police. They were also joined at the shift change by dozens of Ternium workers and supporters from other Guatemalan unions...Sintraternium leadership said Ternium “has created a climate of terror” in Guatemala. The company illegally fired the entire union organizing committee and refused to reinstate them until the Supreme Court ordered them to two years later. Ternium is illegally denying paid leave to union activists and making it difficult to collect union dues from members’ paychecks in an attempt to deny the union necessary resources and expertise to function...“IndustriALL and the Tenaris – Ternium Workers’ World Council call on Ternium to end its anti-union campaign, recognize Sintraternium and negotiate a fair collective bargaining agreement. We have committed to support this struggle at the Council’s worksites, at the ILO and in Luxembourg until the company does so.”

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Company non-response
25 July 2017

Ternium non-response