(en) Troops posed to attack Brazil dockworkers

Andrew Flood (ANFLOOD@macollamh.ucd.ie)
Thu, 10 Apr 1997 17:07:54 +0100 (BST)

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Resent-from: ait-iwa-talk@list.uncanny.net Subject: More on Brazil docks

Troops are poised to intervene to break the peaceful occupation of two ships in the Brazilian port of Santos, where workers are resisting attempts to replace them with contract labour on a berth belonging to COSIPA, the So Paulo Steel Company.

According to Santos portworkersi web site and e-mail received by the Liverpool dockers, the "Marcos Dias" and the "Vancouver", moored at the COSIPA terminal, are occupied. On Monday 7th April, COSIPA requested that the Army be brought in to clear the occupation. The unions expect an imminent armed military intervention. Contact them by fax on 0055 13 232 48 77 or email them at interportus@portodesantos.com

Some time ago, COSIPA proposed contracting out of cargo handling in their own berth. The process came to a head last week after COSIPA obtained legal authority to impose their plans. Santos portworkersi then struck from the 2nd to the 5th of April, with a general stoppage of Brazilian ports on 4th April. On Saturday 5th April, 3 workers were injured in clashes with the Military Police. On 7th April COSIPA succeeded in gaining authority to call in the Army. The web site of the Inter-Union in the Port of Santos (http://www.portodesantos.com/sindicatos) currently says:

Cosipa solicited the intervention of the Army in order to evacuate the two ships, the "Marcos Dias" and the "Vancouver", moored at their terminal. Such an unprecedented process was authorised by Judge Mario Roberto Negreiros Vellose, of the Second Civil Jurisdiction of Cubato, who 3 days previously had solicited at the companyis request the intervention of the Military Police of the State of So Paulo, which refused to carry out the improper order, leading to unnecessary confrontations.

The Unions of Workers of the Port of Santos are appealing for national and international solidarity while watching the situation develop. Three workers were injured in the clashes on Saturday, the 5th. Much more serious can occur if the company continues with its intransigence in ending the use of port workers for cargo handling in its maritime terminal.

The ships are occupied by workers who are in their place of work defending their posts. There is nothing to concede, now that it would signify abdication of the mechanisms of the Law of the Ports, of Decree 1886/96 and Convention 137 of the International Labour Organisation. The work in ports is exclusively for port workers.

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