3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Chile

The ITUC affiliates in Chile are the Central Autónoma de Trabajadores de Chile (CAT), the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile (CUT) and the Unión Nacional de Trabajadores de Chile (UNT).

In practice

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Starbucks and its anti-union practices01-06-2015

In June 2015, the Chilean National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises was once again called on to assess a complaint submitted by the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A. (STSCSA) and the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) regarding the company’s alleged violations of the OECD Guidelines. This petition was preceded by a series of demands and requests submitted to the company regarding violations of freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
.

On 5 November 2013, the CIEDH (Centre for Information on Companies and Human Rights) invited Starbucks to respond to reports of anti-union practices by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

“It is clear for the ITUC that Starbucks is using all its resources to derail the process of collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
and, through intimidation and direct retaliation, discourages workers from joining the union,” said ITUC trade union leaders.

On 28 May 2014, the STSCSA and the CUT submitted a case to the OECD Guidelines National Contact Point in Chile, calling on it to exercise its good offices in a specific instance on grounds of an alleged breach of its Guidelines through practices violating freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
, the right to organise and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
, freedom of expression, publication of information and acts of discrimination and retaliation at the multinational Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A.

On 2 October 2014, the company presented the NCP with its response to the case submitted by the trade unions, stating its: “[…] most profound rejection of the accusations that the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Starbucks Coffee Chile S.A. and the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores have presented to the National Contact Point.”

After mediating between the two parties, the Chilean National Contact Point for the OEDC Guidelines concluded that: “In accordance with the evidence presented … it is clear that the multinational company Starbucks Coffee S.A. has a fundamental problem in terms of its company policy, which translates as a lack of interest in recognising the Starbucks trade union … In this respect, the NCP recommends that the multinational company make changes to its policy on responsible business conduct, paying attention to the following points:
• Workers cannot be defined as partners insofar as they do not hold this function (in general), they are not partners, shareholders and nor do they receive profits from the company’s sales (not referring to commissions but profits in the strict sense of the term).
• Representation within a company of such a size is positive for the workers, who need their rights to be protected and their contracts to be discussed with the bargaining power that can only be provided by a duly recognised trade union.
• Although the multinational company Starbucks Coffee S.A. offers benefits (the fittingness and relevance of which is open to debate – especially given that these are benefits the Starbucks union is seeking to negotiate through collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
), this does not nonetheless mean that the workers should have no say in such benefits, their scope and substance.
In this respect, it should be underlined that the tenor of these words is not intended to disparage the multinational company Starbucks Coffee S.A., but, rather, to highlight the elements that are slowing its growth as a company shielded by the international standards regulating Corporate Social Responsibility.”

The company was condemned for trade union rights violations on four occasions in 2012, and the Supreme Court of Chile recently upheld the decision of an appeal court, ordering it to pay a fine of US$50,000 and to negotiate a collective agreement with the trade union.

Trade unionists fired from Diario Financiero30-05-2016

On 6 January 2015, Sindicato N°1 de Ediciones Financieras S.A., representing employees at the financial daily Diario Financiero denounced that the company had dismissed ten workers on the pretext that it was in financial difficulty; 80% of those dismissed were union members. The trade union is convinced that financial restructuring was not the only basis for the dismissals and that there was a strong anti-union element to the measure, especially given that the union was launching collective negotiations with the company in 2015.

Anti-union persecution following strike action22-01-2015

In January 2015, the president of the Sindicato de Establecimientos Walmart (Líder supermarket in San Antonio), Elías Carvallo, accused the company of taking reprisals against workers for staging a legal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in December 2014. Fortnightly pay was suspended and threats of dismissals were brandished. The union leader pointed out that the management began the campaign of intimidation immediately after the end of the tense strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and the demonstrations held in front of the supermarket urging customers not to shop there. Two of the workers who had taken part in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
were dismissed shortly afterwards, supposedly for their “poor performance”. The quality of the food supplied by the company also fell.

Mass dismissals at Cencosud S.A. designed to weaken unions 06-07-2015

On 6 July 2015, unionised workers at Cencosud S.A. (Centros Comerciales Sudamericanos) denounced that the multinational retail company had fired over 6,000 workers, seriously weakening the trade union organisations. The dismissals began on 26 June 2015 and went on for several days, affecting employees at the company’s retail outlets across the country. Around 1,000 employees lost their jobs at the company’s Paris department stores and another 5,000 were laid off at various other retail outlets and businesses owned by Cencosud.

According to the information received from the company, the dismissals were supposedly related to the “uncertainty” faced by businesses as a result of government reforms. For the trade union, the wave of dismissals is part of a policy of terror aimed at dismantling workers’ organisations, as well as seeking to hinder any potential change in the pro-business labour legislation that has been in force in the country since the dictatorship and to press the Nueva Mayoría (New Majority) coalition to make no more than minor adjustments, without altering the substance of the anti-worker Labour Code.

The union reports that it is not the first time there has been mass dismissals at the company. In June 2014, large numbers of workers were dismissed, several thousand according to the company itself, on the pretext of the need to “rationalise” and optimise resources.

Companies like Cencosud have, over their history, been denounced and fined for subdividing their businesses into different legal entities (‘multirut’), making it difficult to organise workers, as each entity requires a separate union. According to the research of the Fundación Sol, this occult form of subcontracting is aimed at weakening workers’ power, pushing up profits and stepping up exploitation.

In 2012, Jumbo workers denounced the constant anti-union practices they were faced with, as did workers affiliated to the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Logística Cencosud, which represents employees at the Jumbo, Santa Isabel, Economax and Montecarlo supermarkets, in 2009. Two of the companies in the group were fined on these grounds in 2015.

Unfair dismissals at LAN 10-08-2015

At the beginning of August 2015, the airline company LAN carried out a series of dismissals in retaliation for the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action staged by workers in April 2015 in defence of their trade union and labour rights. By 6 August 2015, ten workers had been removed from the company based on a very arbitrary interpretation of Labour Code Articles 161 (“needs of the company”) and 160 (“serious misconduct”).

The president of the Sindicato de Trabajadores de LAN Express and the Federación de Trabajadores de LAN, Luis Chávez, pointed out that all those dismissed had taken an active part in the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and had been working for the company for between nine and 45 years.

According to the union, the series of dismissals began with the most emblematic case: that of Manuel Liberona, who held the post of chief supervisor, had been working for the company for 45 years and had received recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. from the company on various occasions for his professional commitment, his loyalty and his experience of aircraft maintenance and security protocols. He was dismissed on the basis of Article 160 of the Labour Code, without any right to compensation. For the union, this dismissal was used as a key strategy to intimidate unionised workers and to encourage them to leave the union. Another worker was dismissed for breach of contract, making reference to the same Article, after refusing to perform a task that was not part of his duties.

The trade unionist underlined his concern regarding the fact that the company expects greater commitment from the workers at the same time as curbing freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
through the retaliatory measures taken following the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
: pay arrears, misinformation regarding bonus payments, etc. According to the trade union, the company deployed a wide range of strategies to destroy the trade union organisation between May and July 2015.

Codelco mine occupied 20-08-2015

At the beginning of August 2015, contract workers occupied the Ministro Hales mining facilities of the Corporación del Cobre (Codelco) in the north of Chile, in support of their demands for better working conditions and in protest at the continual violation of their rights as workers. The company declared the occupation illegal and proceeded to evacuate the workers and to launch phase one of the division’s temporary closure. Codelco called on the police to intervene and undertook legal steps to sanction the workers.

The occupation of the mine, some 1,600 kilometres from Santiago, took place after Codelco had agreed to hold talks with the contract workers’ employers and trade unions, after two weeks of strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action. The company, however, laid down excessive conditions, issuing a statement whereby the dialogue could not be used to negotiate dispute resolution bonuses or wage supplements. The Confederación de Trabajadores del Cobre (CTC), which represents the contract workers, rejected this anti-union stance. According to the CTC, the dialogue announced was invalidated by Codelco’s refusal to discuss economic demands.

Police repression against striking miners30-07-2015

On 24 July 2015, worker Nelson Quichillao López died as a result of shots fired by the Special Forces on the outskirts of the city of El Salvador. Another worker, Rodrigo Vásquez Salazar, was seriously injured.

According to the copper workers’ confederation Confederación de Trabajadores del Cobre (CTC), the Special Forces were sent in to repress, neutralise and disperse the peaceful mobilisation of striking miners.

The nationwide strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was called following Coldeco’s refusal to negotiate a framework agreement seeking to improve the working conditions of the contract and subcontract staff organised within the CTC.

Starbucks don´t negotiate in good faith with union24-10-2013

In October 2013, as it announced record profits, the company rejected all Starbucks Workers´ Union demands, included in a draft collective agreement.

Alleging damage to its competitiveness, the company has said it cannot cover basic benefits to workers such as meals and commuting expenses, as well as sick pay rights.

The majority of workers are young people under 25, ironically referred to by its internal regulations as “partners”.

Starbucks’s view is that “unions are unnecessary” and that organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. is “a betrayal and distrust of management”.

The company is using all its resources to derail the process of collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
and, through intimidation and direct retaliation, discourages workers from joining the union.

The company was sentenced four times for violation of trade union rights in 2012, and the Chilean Supreme Court has recently upheld an appeal court ordering it to pay a $50,000 fine and to negotiate a collective agreement with the union.

Delta Airlines replaces workers on strike31-12-2012

Workers at Delta Airlines went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in December 2012 for better working conditions and to demand an end to labour abuses and undue pressure. The company employed new personnel to replace the striking workers.

Courier firm threats to organised workers31-03-2013

In March 2013, after the creation of a union, the courier firm Servicios Integrales de Cobranzas y Correspondencia had access through the Labour Inspectorate to unionised workers, several of which were dismissed or threatened to be relocated.

Repression of strike by call centre workers31-01-2013

In January 2013, industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. by workers in the Unisono Call Centre was met with repression by police. Union protesters denounced that tear gas was fired inside the workplace and workers were beaten up as they evacuated the premises.

Union leader beaten up by police31-03-2013

In March 2013, Enrique Solar Lagos, a leader of the Mejillones Port Workers Union (Sindicato de Muellaje SVTI) was sent to hospital with severe injuries after being beaten up by police officers during a picket related to industrial action industrial action Any form of action taken by a group of workers, a union or an employer during an industrial dispute to gain concessions from the other party, e.g. a strike, go-slow or an overtime ban, or a lockout on the part of the employer. demanding work lunch breaks and a toilet for workers.

Chilean trade union leader shot dead28-02-2013

On Thursday 21 February, Juan Pablo Jiménez, an employee of the electrical engineering company Azeta, was shot dead as he was walking to his office at the company. He was found by colleagues, who took him to the medical service. However, Juan Pablo was pronounced dead on arrival. According to the police who investigated the crime, Juan Pablo was killed by a bullet fired from the residential areas close to the company premises. Juan Pablo Jiménez was President of the N°1 union at the company and President of the Chilectra Federation of Subcontractors. On Friday 22 February, he was due to attend a hearing to continue denouncing the company’s anti-trade union practices.

Walmart in Chile opposed to collective bargaining16-08-2013

Walmart was confronted in July 2013 with an official collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
agreement and in order not to give in to workers’ demands, used the threat of dismissals. The only concession the company agreed to offer was a wage adjustment of a mere 159 Chilean pesos, which equates to 31.8 US cent.

Hundred and seven fines issued for anti-union practices31-12-2011

The Labour Directorate penalised 107 companies for anti-union practices during 2011. The offence most punished was the unfair dismissal of workers with trade union immunity. The firms, as well as having their names published in the list of violating companies, received a fine and a two-year ban on supplying goods or services to the state. The CUT denounced that many of the companies pay the fine and then continue with their anti-union practices.

Refusal to negotiate at Barrick Gold mine15-02-2011

In February 2011, the union of workers employed by Consorcio Colorada Punta, a Barrick Gold subcontractor, held a stoppage in protest at the company’s refusal to negotiate better health and safety and working conditions. The miners are working in very harsh environmental conditions. The union is demanding negotiations with Barrick Gold, given that any decisions ultimately depend on the corporation. The company remained firm in its refusal to recognise its obligations in terms of workers’ rights.

Lencería Antonella refuses to negotiate31-12-2011

The Federación de Sindicatos Complementos Chile led an eight-day protest in December 2011 against lingerie manufacturer Lencería Antonella over its refusal to hold collective negotiations on working conditions. The union is asking the company to pay on time and to meet its labour obligations.

Number of companies sanctioned for anti-union practices almost doubled30-11-2009

The Labour Directorate announced that the number of companies sanctioned for anti-union practices during the second half of 2009 went from 19 to 32. The sectors receiving the most fines were commerce, manufacturing and security. The most heavily fined companies were printing firm Printax S.A. and the private school Helénico, for the unfair dismissal of workers whose jobs are legally protected given their status as trade union representatives. As well as being fined, companies are excluded from the public procurement system, and have to pay compensation to the workers affected.

Practices promoting precarious employment and obstructing unionisation30-11-2009

During 2009, public and private sector employers continued to widely use subcontracting as a means of undermining workers’ rights and guarantees and obstructing trade unionism. At least two thirds of workers in metal manufacturing companies are employed on precarious contracts, depriving them of adequate social protection, decent working conditions and the right to unionise.

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