In 2002 the workers of Cipla and Interfibra occupied their factories to defend 1,000 jobs (see also Solidarity with the Workers of the Occupied Factories of Cipla/Interfibra (Brazil). In the last few days the possibility of imprisonment of the coordinator of the Factory Council, Serge Goulart, and the occupation by the police of these factories is increasing. We publish below an Urgent Letter to President Lula written by Serge Goulart, who has approached us requesting international solidarity. From the pages of In Defence of Marxism we appeal to all trade unionists and left politicians, to all the progressive organisations internationally, to workers and youth in general, to send resolutions demanding an immediate cessation to the threats against the workers of the occupied factories in Brazil (please find below a model resolution). (June 28, 2005)
Urgent solidarity with the workers of the occupied factories in Brazil
Joinville, 10th June 2005
Urgent letter to President Lula
You are aware of our struggle to save 1,000 jobs at the Cipla/Interfibra factories. In our opinion this objective can only be achieved through the nationalisation of these factories, in accordance with the decision taken by an innumerable mass meeting. Two years ago in the Presidential Palace in Brasilia you said that, although you were not in agreement with this, you would find the solution and would save all those jobs. We have been respectfully awaiting this solution until today.
Now, as the coordinator of the occupied factories, I have just received a summons from the Federal Court stating that I must deposit approximately two million reales of debts owed by the former owners, and if I do not pay, an order for my arrest will be issued as from the 19th June 2005.
These debts are old debts, representing money to the Inland Revenue and the Social Security, for which the workers who have occupied these factories since the 31st October 2002, do not have the slightest responsibility. And you are very aware of all this.
This threat of imprisonment therefore comes directly from two ministries in your government.
All our attempts to meet with the two ministers in order to get them to suspend these actions have so far proved futile. They have even ignored a request from the National Leadership of the PT, of which I am a member, and from the National Executive Committee of the CUT. And these two ministers can suspend these judicial actions legally without the slightest difficulty!
However, to give in to the demands of the judiciary and pay the 2 million reales would be to decree the closure of the factories, condemning thousands of working class families to desperation, and to many other tragic consequences.
I cannot do this. I will not do this!
Together, the workers who are occupying the factories, the Factory Council, of which I am the coordinator, have decided to continue paying the wages, and to safe 1,000 jobs.
Am I going to go to prison for this?
Who could accept such a thing? Can the workers and the organisations accept it? Can you accept it?
I appeal to you, comrade Lula.
When you were put in prison in 1980 for respecting and defending the demands of the metal workers of ABC [cities which make up the industrial belt of Sao Paulo], all the workers of Brazil rose up as one man and I was among them to get you out of prison and to fight against the sentence passed against you under the Law of National Security!
Today you are in power. You are the President of the Republic, elected by us.
And you can take the necessary measures to prevent this injustice, to put an end to these threats of imprisonment and of factory closures.
I, together with the thousand comrades of Cipla/Interfibra ask you to take immediate steps to annul these threats of imprisonment, the intention of which is to push thousand of workers into unemployment and transform these factories into graveyards.
Comrade Lula, we will hold out, waiting for a gesture on your part to prevent this disgraceful outcome.
To the President of the Brazilian Republic Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
With great concern we have learned of the recent developments concerning the occupied factories Cipla/Interfibra. The right to work is an elementary human right, just as the right to live. In fighting to defend their job and families, these workers are merely exercising this right. The people of Brazil elected you to defend their rights and this is what we expect you to do.
According to our reports, Justicia Nacional has issued a summons against one of the leaders of the occupied factories, demanding payment of approximately 2 million reales, failing which he will face legal action which might end in imprisonment. It appears that this sum of money represents debts entered into by the former owners for tax and social security, for which the workers who have occupied these factories since 2002 are in no way responsible.
It is entirely unjust to demand that the workers should be made to pay for the financial irresponsibility and corruption of the former owners.
It is also complete unacceptable, since the payment of this money would signify the immediate closure of the factories with the loss of 1000 jobs.
How can this be justified under a socialist government?
We ask you to take the necessary steps to withdraw these threats and to support the workers’ right to work and bread by nationalising the factories in question and providing the necessary funds for investment in order to guarantee their future viability.
Please send your statements and resolutions by fax, regular mail or e-mail to:
Presidency of the Republic
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - President of the Republic
Palácio do Planalto - Praça dos Três Poderes
Brasilia/ DF- CEP 70250-900
Fax: 00- 55 61 411 1073
Also please send your statements and resolutions to the following Federal Court Judges:
Juiz Federal Titular: Dr. LEONARDO CASTANHO MENDES
Juiz Federal Substituto: Dr. OZIEL FRANCISCO DE SOUSA
Diretor de Secretaria: Bel. ROSAN LUIS DA SILVEIRA PERES
Address: Rua do Príncipe, 123 - Centro,
Brasilia CEP: 89201-001
FAX: 00- 55 47 433-9079
Also to your Embassy/Consulate. To find your local address please click on this link: http://www.mre.gov.br/ingles/endereco/embaixadas.asp