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7 Oct 2009

Marie Trigona, Centre for International Policy

Kraft Firings Feed Protests [Argentina]

In August, Kraft fired 160 workers after they went on strike to demand proper health measures at the company's factory in suburban Buenos Aires during the swine flu epidemic in Argentina... almost all of the factory's union delegates were fired…Kraft workers responded by taking over the plant…On Sep. 25, police attacked the workers and removed them by force…[T]he company refused to give pregnant women and women with children maternity leave. According to union representatives, the company went so far as to bring in managers to interrogate workers with the police present, but without the workers' labor lawyers…Human rights lawyer Maria del Carmen Verdu says Kraft is in violation of Argentina's criminal code because it used the plant as a detention center...Kraft agreed to review the dismissals "on a case-by-case basis." The only offer the company has made was to 50 of the workers, saying that the fired workers are dangerous to the company, according to Kraft's Lopez Matheu...The company's most direct violation of Argentina's labor code has been to prohibit union delegates from entering the plant...Colombia's Food Union, Sinaltrainal, has reported persecution of union members at Kraft factories in that country...The U.S. boycott campaign states that..."Kraft Foods has ties with the coup in Honduras,"...