Fri Jun 14, 2024
June 14, 2024

Solidarity with Edu Gallardo: For freedom of association in Chile

From the LITCI we adhere to and share the communiqué of the Chilean Inter-Company Union of Mining Workers – SIM – calling for the widest campaign for the right to freedom of association, and the immediate reinstatement of Edu Gallardo.
The National Inter-Company Union Of Mining Workers (Sindicato Nacional Interempresa de Trabajadores de la Minería), October 18, SIM 18-O, was constituted on October 29, 2021. The voting process began on the 12th of the same month, with a greater presence among subcontracted workers of the state-owned Codelco and private mining throughout the country. The first elected national board of directors is composed of the following comrades:
Edward Gallardo Basay, Jumbo/ Simba Operator, President
Franco Barrios Moreira, Jumbo Operator, Vice President
José Rojas Milla, Jumbo Operator
Alejandro San Martín Rain, Crane Operator, National Treasurer
Oscar Palominos Espinoza, Steel Drilling Master, National Director
As soon as SIM was formed, the companies Acciona Ossa Pizzarotti and Geovita Salfa Corp. proceeded to illegally separate three of the union’s leaders, Edu, Franco, and Oscar, and the union’s basic constituents from their jobs in order to intimidate, demoralize, and disrupt the union’s membership. The union immediately began the defense of its constituent member and leaders. After an ineffective inspection at Calama, the case was taken to court, where due to them being hired from different companies, the case of Edu was separated from that of Oscar and Franco. In the case of Franco and Oscar, they were reinstated and they recovered the five months’ salary owed to them. We also obtained the reinstatement and the respective payments of our rank-and-file colleague, Benjamin. This is a great triumph for the SIM and although Benjamin decided not to return to the company, tired after many years in the mines, he is still grateful to the SIM. As for Franco and Oscar, they are in the process of returning to their shifts.
Regarding our president, Edu, the judicial process continues but we are sure of our triumph and therefore of his return to work. For the same reason, we encourage our rank-and-file to remain united and organized and we call on the miners to continue to join SIM.
Despite the attacks carried out by the companies, this union, which has mobilized for this and other reasons in the workplace, continues to grow and build at the grassroots level. We are carrying out collective bargaining negotiations at worksites and preparing the next ones with great strength. This is why we call on our grassroots members and those who are joining to trust in this body.
Our union is built on anger towards all the anti-worker policies of the bosses, the union bureaucracy and bad practices, and the stripping of rights and benefits in recent years. Our working conditions have diminished and have not been improved since 2013. The Chuqui underground mine has not received any restoration. We must recover all of this and that is why this union rises.
SIM carries forward a union and political program that includes the constant struggle for the respect of the rights of its members and to improve the economic, labor, and environmental conditions inherent to the work and the collective demands based on the historical methods of the class struggle. We also promote the struggle against subcontracting, against the Labor Code, for the right to strike without conditions, for negotiation by branch of production and a national tariffs for mining, to end the administration of pension funds (AFP). We are also fighting a critical battle, promoted by Edu in the Constitutional Convention,  or the nationalization of large mining companies without compensation and under the control of workers and communities. For social coverage of all the needs of the people including housing, health, education, pensions, work, wages, etc.
Regarding the anti-union attacks, we are beginning a broad and international campaign for the reinstatement of our president, for the democratic right to organize, and for absolute union freedom. In this context, we are asking for videos and photos of support, and to organize solidarity and comradeship days to support Edu who has not been paid for more than six months. We will articulate a whole network of help from the worksites and at the international level. We do not rule out mobilizations against these employer attacks. Soon we will invite the formation of the Committee for Union Freedom.
We openly call on trade union organizations at all levels, social, political, cultural, and student organizations, and grassroots workers to join in this campaign in favor of freedom of association and respect for the democratic right of workers to organize.
As a union, we cannot abstain or even worse be silent in the face of the criminalization and repression by the state through its police against ENAP’s subcontracted workers. We raise our voice to repudiate these facts and support the workers in all their demands. The subcontracting regime is unjust and regressive, separating workers into categories. This cannot continue. That is why we call to fight for one of our programmatic axes as a union, which is to put an end to subcontracting.
Finally, we call on the workers of Chile to organize to fight, because no government and no convention is going to give us anything for free. We must conquer our demands and to achieve this we must unite, coordinate, and fight together.
We conclude by demanding that the Spanish-Italian consortium Acciona Ossa Pizzarotti immediately reinstate our comrade Edu, and we call on the government to respect, promote and enforce the law. We call on Codelco to respect freedom of association and the workers’ right to organize. To the government itself and the Ministry of Labor and its institutions, we call on them to put into practice the democratic right of workers to organize and to reinstate our comrade Edu to his role respecting the right to agreed work.
For union freedom, for the right to unionize and organize, for the right to elect and be elected as union leaders and delegates, for the right to exercise the agreed work, for the reinstatement of Edu Gallardo, and the payment of his salary!!!!!
Long live the unions, long live the organized workers, down with the subcontract!!!!!
Santiago, May 16, 2022
Video of Edu Gallardo Basay explaining his current situation after being illegally separated from his work as a Jumbo operator in the underground Chuqui mine. He calls on you to join this broad campaign for the right to freedom of association and the immediate reinstatement of Edu Gallardo.

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