Uruguay’s leather crisis: París tannery and Zenda face layoff risk

The workers of París tannery, based in Montevideo (Uruguay), are supposedly about to call on a strike. Allegedly, 95% of the company employees are on redundancy payment. Furthermore, despite a positive meeting between the company’s top managers and trade union representatives, held in the offices of the Ministry of Labour, assembly of workers presumably rejected the agreement, set by parties, to get over current difficulties. El País reported the news: according to the daily newspaper, two managers of the company even found their house walls soiled with threatening messages. Carlos Bico, secretary of the Union of Tanners Workers, emphasized, while speaking to the newspaper, that workers have been duly informed about all the “advancements” achieved during negotiations. Apparently, they still have “to sort out just a few details”, and this is the reason why they are going to schedule some more meetings to reabsorb part of the workers, 270 of them, who are currently on redundancy payment. In the meantime, the company announced, in an official press release, that the industry problems are mostly due to a downturn in the prices on international markets, along with decreasing demand and production high costs.

Even worse

In Uruguay, the crisis leather tanning industry is facing goes beyond the situation of París tannery. In fact, as reported again by El País, Zenda enterprise, whose ownership is the hands of Brazilian giant JBS, allegedly announced they are going to shut down two tanneries, out of three, located in the South American country. Such decision is supposedly due to a drop in competitiveness of Uruguay’s leather industry, together with a remarkable downturn in the price of leather on the international market. The closure of two manufacturing plants is going to jeopardize around 370 jobs, whereas 140 more employees are working in the factory that is still actively running. Apparently, Zenda’s top managers announced their decision while talking to some spokespeople of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security during a meeting, which took place a few hours ago. Shortly after, they also informed workers about it, at the end of a meeting with the UOC representatives. According to some union informers, the group is planning to leave the country within one and a half years. While participating in a radio programme, Álvaro Castagna, Zenda sales director, had already pinpointed a downturn in the demand for leather on international markets; furthermore, he had also remarked that Uruguay, in particular, was bound to face additional problems owing to “leather processing substantial costs”.



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