3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index


The ITUC affiliate in Chile is the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile (CUT).

Chile ratified Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise (1948) in 1999 and Convention No. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining (1949) in 1999.

In practice

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Peaceful union protest violently quashed by police25-12-2019

Leaders of the Integra workers’ union SINATI (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Integra) denounced that the Integra Foundation was refusing to recognise their collective bargaining rights and ignoring the 2019/2020 Pay and Working Conditions proposals. One of the demonstrations held by the union was violently quashed by the special police. The other branches around the country nonetheless continued with their protests that day, hoping for a favourable response from the Foundation.

Right to strike violated at Radio Bio Bio29-11-2019

Following the 15-day strike staged at Radio Bio Bio, five of the 14 union members at the radio station were dismissed. The president of the union denounced the situation, pointing out that a complaint had been submitted to the relevant authority regarding these and other anti-union measures, as the union could not stand back and allow the right to strike to be violated through the use of repressive and repeated practices such as the replacement of striking workers and the casualisation of employment.

Government denies permits for “40-Hour Festival” 09-11-2019

The government of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago de Chile denied the permits for the holding of the cultural festival, organised in support of the law on the reduction of working hours, five days before the event. CUT Chile condemned the move, saying that all the necessary procedures had been carried out in accordance with the law and that the administration’s unilateral decision illustrated the unwillingness to negotiate on the issue of working hours.

Chilean government’s repressive crackdown of mass demonstration31-10-2019

Thousands of people took to the streets on 5 September 2019 in answer to the call by an alliance of 60 civil society organisations, which includes trade unions as well as environmental, feminist and indigenous rights organisations. They were denouncing the anti-union and socially regressive policy overhaul proposed by the Piñera government, which would result in the dismantling of existing labour protections and reduce access to health, education and social protection.

Multiple reports indicate that police aggression began from the very beginning of the march and resulted in several injuries and arrests. Among those arrested were the General Secretary of CUT Chile, Nolberto Diaz, and Vice President Tamara Muñoz, a member of the ITUC General Council. Police further attempted to break into the CUT Chile offices. The arrested union leaders were released many hours later without charges.

Later in the year, the government of Chile announced that it would not host two major international summits as it faced mounting pressure from mass anti-austerity protests. The government finally yielded to calls for the November APEC trade summit and the UN’s December COP25 climate conference to be cancelled as the international community responded in shock at the brutal repression of protestors.

With the highest level of inequality of all the OECD countries, the current public mobilisation is the country’s largest, but by no means the first since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship, with large protests taking place in 2006, 2011 and 2013. As a poster child of the IMF and the World Bank, Chile has put all the country’s water resources into private hands, while privatisation of education, health and other vital services has further impoverished millions of people.

Trade unions in Chile have laid out ten demands to the government, including calls for minimum living wages and pensions, effective protections of people’s fundamental rights at work, and a reduction of the working week to a maximum of 40 hours. Putting forward solutions that are proven to address inequality, the unions call on the government to strengthen collective bargaining, to build social dialogue and guarantee the right to strike.

Illegal detention and harassment of journalists23-10-2019

Union leader Estefani Carrasco Rivera has been the president of the press union Sindicato de Trabajadores Emelnor I y XV Regiones since January 2017, and is a journalist with La Estrella de Arica daily newspaper.
At 11 p.m. on 23 October (in the midst of the social unrest), she was on her way home with two fellow journalists (a man and a woman) during the curfew, after covering the mobilisations and protests in the city of Arica, when they were stopped by two Carabineros who asked to see their curfew passes – which they did not have, believing that their press credentials would suffice. They tried to reason with the officers, explaining that they were simply journalists, doing their job. They wanted to show their press cards but the uniformed Carabineros were accompanied by two other plainclothes police officers, who treated them with contempt. They began interrogating them and went on to threaten them, telling them that if they did not get into the patrol vehicle they would bring a prisoner van with a cell and “it would be much worse”.
On reaching the police station they had to hand over their belongings. The two women were then separated, and a policewoman with a white latex glove took them one by one to a bathroom at the police station where she made them strip and then remain in a squatting position while she checked their belongings, in a clear attempt to humiliate and intimidate them. The male journalist was also taken to a bathroom with a policeman and made to undress.
Finally, and only thanks to the pressure and efforts of the Arica journalists’ association, the union leader and her colleagues were released in the early hours of 24 October. The police officers involved in the incident are being investigated for torture by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Alto Maipo hydroelectric project workers denounce anti-union discrimination10-10-2019

The national union representing construction, industrial assembly and allied workers, SINTEC (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Construcción, Montaje Industrial y Afines), accused the STRABAG Group of cancelling jobs and stopping food, lodging and transport services for field workers, not only affecting their working conditions, but also affecting their families, as the workers were not able to travel home on their days off. The situation emerged as a result of the failure of the collective bargaining process and a 12-day strike launched on 30 July by the union representing the employees of the Austria-based group.

Walmart violates right to strike02-10-2019

More than 400 members of the union representing Walmart workers, the SIL (Sindicato Interempresas de Walmart), were dismissed during the month of September. The president of the union condemned the mass and selective dismissals, describing them as repressive measures aimed at restricting protest in the form of participatory strike action. The dismissals came 60 days after the expiry of the protections established for trade unionists in a previous collective agreement.

Police try to enter CUT headquarters05-09-2019

During the day of action on Thursday 5 September 2019, after the brutal repression suffered by demonstrators and the numerous arrests targeting union and social leaders, the Carabinero police officers tried to enter the headquarters of the CUT, firing pepper gas directly into the faces of the leaders who were trying to protect the premises and to prevent their illegal occupation by the police.

Demonstrators violently attacked by Carabinero police 05-09-2019

Some 60 trade union and social organisations, including CUT Chile, called for a demonstration to be held on 5 September 2019 for the right to a dignified life.
The government banned the protest and blocked off access to Plaza Italia – now renamed “Plaza de la Dignidad” (Dignity Square) – in the city of Santiago, where the rally was to be held. It should be noted that the local and provincial branches of the CUT staged their own demonstrations throughout the country and in different parts of the capital.
The reaction of Chile’s Carabinero police force was fierce from the very outset, preventing demonstrators from meeting up and dispersing any attempt to reach the rallying site, thus violating the right to demonstrate, the right to assemble peacefully without prior authorisation, the right to freedom of movement and the right to freedom of expression.
The event was marked by police repression and violence, to the extent that 92 people (62 men, 15 women and 15 minors) were arrested in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago alone. For the protest organisers, the police repression was disproportionate and unwarranted. Several union leaders were arrested during the crackdown, including the CUT’s general secretary, Nolberto Díaz, CUT vice president of international relations, Támara Muñoz, and the president of the CTC copper workers’ confederation, Manuel Ahumada.
Dozens of people were injured as a result of the police brutality, their water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray. One such example is the CUT’s national adviser, Marcos Canales, who suffered a fractured knee that left him partially immobilised for over a month when a disproportionate number of special police agents tried to arrest him.

CUT denounces illegal replacement of striking workers30-05-2019

CUT leaders accompanied the march on 30 May to denounce the illegal replacement of striking workers by companies such as the Swiss multinational Swissport Chile S.A., Sotraser, from the transport sector, and department store chain Multitiendas Corona, which replaced workers during legal strikes. The situation was aggravated by the employment crisis, which made the striking workers’ positions very desirable and easy for their employers to fill.

Brutal attack and death threats against union leader18-04-2019

On Thursday 18 April 2019, the president of the SINAMOC union, Manuel Montenegro, was brutally attacked by five individuals armed with wooden bats, during a break in the meeting he was attending with ACCIONA management representatives at the Regional Labour Inspectorate of Talca, where he had come to represent five union members who had been dismissed in the middle of the collective bargaining process. Montenegro and the workers he was representing went to a nearby cybercafe to send messages to the union during the break.
It was there that the five individuals stormed into the café, attacking Manuel Montenegro from behind and making death threats against him and his family, and then fled the scene in a jeep and on a motorcycle.
Montenegro was rushed to the regional hospital in Talca, where he was kept in for observation, having suffered several fractures and serious injuries to his head and left arm.
One of the aggressors was identified as Mauricio Jiménez, president of SINCOC, a pro-employer union that was fully aware of all the details of the meeting and the whereabouts of Manuel Montenegro.

Contractor companies engage in anti-union persecution after winning bids25-03-2019

Contract workers reported that companies that had recently been awarded tenders by the National Mining Company (ENAMI) and Paipote immediately took repressive measures against the unions, such as ending the contracts of several of their leaders. The numbers losing their jobs increases with every change of contractor. The unions affected represent workers involved in industrial services such as cleaning, maintaining green areas, mechanics and welding.

Unilever dismisses over half of workforce at Lampa distribution centre02-01-2019

On 2 January 2019, the British-Dutch multinational Unilever laid off 180 workers, more than half of the workforce, at the distribution centre in Lampa, Chacabuco province. The dismissals were not only made without prior notice, but also in the middle of the holidays and special leave scheduled and agreed on in writing until March of that year.
Unilever claimed that the reason for the mass layoffs was the outsourcing of distribution tasks, which have been under the company’s management for 60 years.
The dismissals have affected 48% of the members of Unilever Workers’ Union No. 1, the oldest industrial sector union in Chile, affiliated to CUT Chile. Following the closure of two Unilever plants in 2005, the company and the CUT had signed an agreement before the OECD National Contact Point in Chile. In the section referring to the outsourcing or subcontracting of distribution services, the company undertakes “that Union No. 1 will be notified of any future change in this area at least 6 months in advance”.
The TUCA and ITUC condemned Unilever’s breach of the agreement, as well as the serious anti-union practice of trying to reach an exit agreement with workers behind the union’s back.
The case is further evidence that, under the pretext of increasing flexibility and competitiveness, what the major companies dominating global supply chains are promoting is subcontracting networks. These networks contribute to the trend towards ever-growing unemployment, precarious employment and informal employment, threatening the historical gains made in terms of workers’ rights, and collective bargaining in particular.

Strike staged at Puerto de Valparaíso for decent working conditions and job security21-12-2018

Over 400 temporary workers at port company Empresa Portuaria Valparaíso staged a 35-day strike in support of their demands for a bonus to compensate for the low pay and the precarious terms of employment they were subjected to, as well as a pay rise and a minimal degree of job security. The company initially refused to discuss the demands, and offered to grant the workers loans. The Unión Portuaria de Chile rejected the proposal and announced that the strike would be prolonged. Police officers stormed the trade union’s headquarters and violently charged on demonstrators. Port workers from nine other cities immediately joined the stoppage. The company and the trade union organisation reached an agreement on 21 December 2018 on granting the compensatory bonus and better working conditions.

Police violence against miners staging trade union protests13-12-2018

On 12 December 2018, police officers violently charged on workers staging a union protest at the Chuquicamata copper mine and arrested 15 trade unionists. The workers were demanding better health benefits and the holding of consultations on the implementation of a new law obliging the company to switch from open-pit mining to underground mining. The company had launched a series of staff cuts in the form of early retirements, to save on costs and protect its profits. This staff cutting approach has also been used by other mining companies, such as Lundin, which cut 106 jobs at La Candelaria mine in November 2018, purportedly in the interests of greater competitiveness and productivity.

Threats issued to union leaders representing copper mine workers 22-08-2018

On 22 August 2018, the car of Miguel Veliz, leader of Union No. 3 of the Chuquicamata mine owned by state company Codelco, was hit by a stone, in front of his home. A message was attached to the stone containing anti-union slogans and threats against Veliz, linked to his work during negotiations with mining companies. The day before, Ana Catalán, president of the Sindicato de Profesionales y Analistas de la División Gabriela Mistral, was threatened with death if she refused to accept the company’s proposals. The union leaders continued with their work, in spite of the threats, until an agreement on improving working conditions was reached.

Trade unions and major mining companies in Chile concluded thirty-three collective negotiations in July and August 2018, following a 44-day strike at the world’s largest copper mine, which had a major impact on production levels in 2017.

Companies condemned for anti-union practices during the first half of 201801-07-2018

During the first half of 2018, the Labour Directorate published the details of 14 judicial decisions condemning companies for anti-union practices related to anti-union dismissals, mishandling of union dues, discrimination against trade union leaders and violations of trade union protection rights (fuero sindical). The companies identified were: Supermercado Santa Victoria Ltda., Prosalud Coquimbo S.A., Gestión Vial S.A., Minera Escondida, Servicio de Transferencia TBA S.A., Consorcio Andino HAUG ASB S.A., Empresa Técnica y Comercial Ltda., Banco de Crédito e Inversiones S.A., Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, Ripley Store Ltda., Corporación de Centros Bíblicos, Abarrotes Económicos S.A., Aserradero Asaltos del Laja Ltda. and ADF Chile S.A..

Anti-union policy at LATAM Chile26-04-2018

On 19 March 2018, LATAM Airlines dismissed 70 workers whilst in the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with the Sindicato Nacional de Tripulantes de Cabina de LATAM (STCLA). The measure seriously affected the negotiating process underway, giving rise to strike action, launched on 10 April 2018. During the following 16 days, the company refused to come to an agreement regarding the workers’ demands and threatened them with mass dismissals, which it would submit to the Labour Inspectorate. The trade union unilaterally declared an end to the strike on 26 April. The workers decided to invoke article 346 of the Labour Code and to continue with the last collective agreement that had been signed four years ago, which was the last formal offer the company had made, without any additional benefit. The company refused to accept this decision and called on the Labour Inspectorate to authorise sanctions.

Arbitrary refusal to recognise the right to strike in 102 companies 01-08-2017

On 1 August 2017, the Ministries of the Economy, Labour and Defence decided, within the framework of the labour reform, to categorise 102 companies as strategic, thus stripping their employees of the right to strike for the next two years. Fourteen trade unions filed petitions with the Appeals Court, warning that if their petitions are not processed they will turn to the Constitutional Court or appeal to international bodies to recover the right to strike. The list published by the government leaves employees from companies linked to the energy and health sectors, for example, without the right to strike.

Anti-union practices to end a strike at H&M 30-05-2017

On 30 May 2017, 439 workers from the H&M trade union launched strike action, during which the company engaged in a string of anti-union practices, including offering incentives to the employees who continued to work, and filming those taking part in the strike and threatening them with dismissal.

Police violence against customs officers24-05-2017

On 24 May 2017, the police used excessive force against members of the national association of customs officers ANFACH (Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios de Aduanas de Chile) during a mobilisation. On 19 June 2017, ANFACH, the public administration employees’ union ANEF (Agrupación Nacional de Empleados Fiscales) and the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores) filed a complaint with the International Labour Organisation against the state of Chile for anti-union practices.

Anti-union dismissals used to block collective bargaining at El Mercurio 27-02-2017

On 27 February 2017, El Mercurio newspaper group dismissed 104 members of the CUT trade union centre and Sindicato No. 3 representing workers at the company (51% of the total membership), just prior to the start of collective bargaining negotiations. The employees were identified by the security guard in the bus taking them to work and were told that they could not enter the premises as they had been fired. Seventy-five of the workers filed court action, and in September 2017 leaders of the CUT and the trade union at the company lodged a formal complaint with the International Labour Organization against the anti-union practices within the group.

Dismissals and other anti-union practices at Sodimac 20-02-2017

From 11 January to 20 February 2017, Sodimac dismissed 345 employees who had taken part in a strike in November 2016. The workers filed action against the company for anti-union practices after Sodimac hired new employees to take over their posts, despite having claimed that the grounds for their termination was retrenchment. Thirty-four employees filed a claim against the company, and on 20 July 2017, the First Labour Court of Santiago ruled in their favour. The court ordered the company to pay over US$266 million in damages, in addition to a fine for recidivist violations of trade union rights.

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.

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 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.

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 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 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 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 through the retaliatory measures taken following the 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.

Intimidation and violation of the right to strike at lingerie company31-07-2015

In July 2015, 48 unionised workers at the Intime lingerie factory staged a legal strike. The employer stopped the 60 non-unionised workers from taking part in the strike, claiming it was a sinful. The workers decided to return to work after striking for two weeks without any acknowledgment of their demands and after suffering all manner of threats and harassment. The employer had ordered that cold water be thrown at the striking workers to remove them from the picket line in front of the factory. It was the middle of winter with temperatures reaching under -3ºC. He had also formed an alliance with the neighbouring businesses to ban the strikers from using their bathrooms or getting water from them.

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 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.

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.

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.

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 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, the right to organise and collective bargaining, 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), 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.

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 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 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 were dismissed shortly afterwards, supposedly for their “poor performance”. The quality of the food supplied by the company also fell.

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 is “a betrayal and distrust of management”.

The company is using all its resources to derail the process of collective bargaining 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.

Walmart in Chile opposed to collective bargaining16-08-2013

Walmart was confronted in July 2013 with an official collective bargaining 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.

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 demanding work lunch breaks and a toilet for 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.

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.

Repression of strike by call centre workers31-01-2013

In January 2013, industrial action 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.

Delta Airlines replaces workers on strike31-12-2012

Workers at Delta Airlines went on 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.

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.

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.

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.

Precarious contracts exploited to prevent unionisation31-12-2010

Employers continued to make fraudulent use of precarious contracts as a means of preventing unionisation and avoiding the cost of labour rights and benefits. A million workers were employed on precarious contracts in 2010, depriving them of rights and social protection, and only 8.3% of the workforce enjoyed collective bargaining rights. Labour outsourcing is common practice, as subcontracted workers are able to perform the same tasks as those with employment contracts but receive 40% less pay and cannot exercise the right to unionise, to bargain collectively or to strike.

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.

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.

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