JBS, other processors in Campo Grande faceoff with labor union

By Bob Moser

Three major meat processors in the capital city of Brazil's Mato Grosso do Sul state are steeped in a faceoff with labor unions, unwilling to finalize a 2011/12 labor agreement until workers eliminate Saturdays off and their health insurance plan, according to regional news outlet Agora MS.

JBS SA, Beef Nobre and Boi Verde are the companies with processing plants in the city of Campo Grande demanding the labor union remove two major benefits that were previously included in a tentative agreement reached by both sides last year.

The new labor agreement for 2011/12 should have taken effect on March 1, but has been delayed six months while the companies and union renegotiate.

Union leaders have said in local media that the companies are treading on dangerous ground by trying to eliminate two key benefits that are highly valued by the Brazilian working public, namely a guaranteed full weekend off (Saturday and Sunday) and a complete health insurance option provided by the employer.

The union has threatened walkouts and strikes in the near future if the companies don't relent.