Countrypage Chile

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TIE-Netherlands has been carrying out projects in Latin America since the beginning of 2002. Initially projects were running in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico. As of 2011, projects are still ongoing in Mexico, Brazil and Chile.

Democratic independent trade unions are oppressed in all of the countries mentioned above. In addition, other unions are mostly corrupt or are controlled by employers or the state. Many unions exist in name only, without any actual organisation within companies or institutions. Members often pay their contributions directly to the union management, who consider their positions to be safe despite their lack of efforts to protect the rights of the union members. Union members and workers have little influence and receive even less schooling or support from their union. Especially in free trade zones, but also in other areas, activists within companies must stay below the radar because any existing unions mostly work closely with the employer, and all attempts made by employees to create an independent organisation are met with suppression or employment termination.  

Developments in Chile

The dictatorship in Chile had disastrous effects on the labour movement. Union members were persecuted, imprisoned and executed. Anti-union laws were passed, and are unfortunately still in place. As a result, unions today can only exist within the confines of a company, and the labour movement as a whole is fragmented. In addition, unions may only involve themselves with technical matters and are prohibited from assisting in the self-organisation of workers.

Despite the obstacles TIE-Chile supports the Chilean union members in building new democratic organisations; they are one of the very few independent organisations involved. TIE-Chile is active in fishing, mining, supermarkets, public sector and agricultural industry.

The current TIE-Netherlands project in Chile organises exchanges between members of the Chilean unions of the supermarket giant Walmart and FNV members working for Lidl in the Netherlands. The project is financed by E-motive (Oxfam-Novib). Under the guidance of TIE-Chile the Walmart workers in Chile have successfully organised themselves into a union that boasts a membership of 97% of all employees. Consequently, their salaries have increased by more than 50%, they now receive end of year payments, a holiday bonus and are offered schooling.

Links

- Please click here for more artciles on Chile
- For information on TIE-Netherlands projects in Chile, mail Marten van den Berge: 
marten@tie-netherlands.nl
- For more information on unionism in Chile visit this page

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