A TNC from the South: The Case of the Brazilian Vale

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:42
Oral Presentation
Thiago Trindade de AGUIAR, Dept.of Sociology, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Leonardo MELLO E SILVA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
This contribution intends to discuss the connection between union and social movements, as well as the possibilities of global action by the workers and the population affected by the policy of a multinational company from the South, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD). Until 1997, it was a state-owned company before privatization made it a bold global player. Due to its involvement in large mineral exploration projects in the country, it has been the target of social movements, among which the most prominent is the Movement of the Affected by Vale. In the configuration of today's global capitalism, transnational corporations in the South are increasingly playing a dynamic role, especially in sectors related to mineral and agricultural products. The CVRD had acquired a mining company in Canada, which generated bitter labor disputes in that country because of the new management's attempt to introduce a labor relations system in Canada characteristic of that used in Brazil (for example, bonus, pensions and anti-union policies). Between 2010 and 2012, the trade unions in Brazil organized an international union network, which did not succeed due to the fragmentation of the system of trade union representation in the country. Attempts at international solidarity were made, but they fell short of what could have been achieved: expectations were more optimistic than reality allowed. One of the aims of the paper is to carry out an impartial exploration of the reasons for the extensive disappointment within the international metalworkers union movement with regard to the unfolding of the CVRD strike in Canada. In the context of the field of Labor Studies on the global action of union networks in transnational corporations, the analysis of a concrete case can be of interest as a teaching point.