Chilean retail workers protest against mass dismissals

More than 500 workers of the Global Services of Outsourcing Company have been dismissed so far this year.

August 30, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
chile mass dismissals
On August 26, a group of Chilean retail workers demonstrated outside the Labor Directorate to protest the mass dismissals in the sector. (Photo: Politika)

On August 26, a flash mob made up of retail workers, hit the streets of Manuel de Salas in the Ñuñoa commune, Chile, to protest the dismissals of more than 500 workers working in various multinational companies for the Global Services of Outsourcing SA Company.

The protesting workers are associated with Complementos Chile Trade Union (S.C.Ch.). Over 35 workers dressed in black clothes with their faces covered with masks, demonstrated outside the Labor Directorate with copies of the Labor Code in hands and sang the antifascist anthem, Bella Ciao

At the end of last year, the S.C.Ch. had reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the Global Services of Outsourcing S.A, which came into effect in 2019. However, since January, the company began dismissing workers in a systematic manner. The dismissed workers are not being paid the benefits assured to them through the agreement reached by the union last year.

The demonstration was carried out while the labor office was attending the mediation requests with the objective of reaching an agreement on payments owed to the workers. The assured benefits as per the new collective bargaining agreement, which were not reflected in their severance packages. 

Since the beginning of the year, more than 500 workers from multinational companies such as L’Oréal, Claro and Soprole, among others, have been dismissed. In the first week of August, around 250 people working in the French cosmetics company L’Oréal S.A. lost their job. L’Oréal had announced its intentions in June to unilaterally terminate contracts of around 250 of its workers, merely citing the “needs of the company” as the reason behind the decision. In the last weeks of July, Soprole or Sociedad de Productores de Leche, a Chilean dairy products manufacturer, dismissed 12 workers, giving the same pretext of “company’s needs”. Similarly, in January, Mexican telecom group, Claro, fired a number of its employees.

Náyade Valenzuela, leader of the S.C.Ch, said that they feel “run over and mocked”. She further informed that the S.C.Ch will file a lawsuit against the company for anti-union practices, violation of labor rights, remuneration debts and other compromised agreements.

The Global Services of Outsourcing company is owned by the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). The ECR Group has been providing human resource services to various multinational companies throughout the country for 40 years.