Terra de Direitos

The anti-trade union conduct of the Ultrafértil company has been denounced by the Paraná Petrochemical Industry Workers Union (Sindiquímica-PR) since 2006. The shares of the company were once controlled by Bunge and it later became part of the Vale group until the end of 2012, when it was confirmed that it had been bought by Petrobrás and it became known as Araucária Nitrogenados S.A.

In 2008, in view of the company’s continuing disrespect of trade union freedom, Terra de Direitos filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO), giving rise to pressure on the Brazilian State and negative visibility for the company. As a result of the complaint, in 2009 Ultrafértil signed a Conduct Adjustment Pledge, committing itself to not practicing further anti-union conduct. However, following the signing of the Pledge, persecution of union leaders and militants began to occur again and Sindiquímica asked Terra de Direitos to file another complaint, in August 2012, to ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association.

Following this new international denouncement, in October 2012 the Regional Office of the Attorney General for Labour filed a suit for the Enforcement of the Conduct Adjustment Pledge, acknowledging that the company had failed to comply with the Pledge owing to its anti-union practices. As a consequence the company was ordered to comply with the obligations it had taken on, under penalty of being fined R$ 100,000 for each clause breached and for each proven infringement, without prejudice to the R$ 20,000 fine already determined in the Conduct Adjustment Pledge.

In 2012 and 2013, the Office of the Public Prosecutor for Labour filed suits for the enforcement of the Conduct Adjustment Pledge against Ultrafértil/Fosfértil S.A. and later against Araucária Nitrogenados S.A. Sindiquímica was admitted in these proceedings as an interested third party and joint plaintiff. Terra de Direitos provided the trade union with strategic legal aid and helped it to ensure the enforcement of the rights of its leaders and members.

In 2014, Sindiquímica was admitted as a joint plaintiff and summoned to manifest itself about the company’s compliance with the Conduct Adjustment Pledge. The case is now awaiting new court decisions.