About 200 women from the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) held a protest at the headquarters of the company Salton, this Wednesday afternoon (8), in the west zone of São Paulo. The action against one of the main wineries in Brazil, implicated in the case of slave labor in Rio Grande do Sul, takes place on International Women’s Day and is part of a journey that will last throughout the month of March.
Wearing black blouses and calico scarves on their faces, the rural workers made interventions with songs and shouts of order in front of the company’s headquarters on Avenida Pacaembu. On one banner, they painted a chalice with the words “blood red wine”. On the entrance staircase, boxes with agroecological vegetables were placed and red paint balloons painted the facade of the house.
“It is necessary to denounce slave labor, identify who these big companies are and claim these lands for agrarian reform, to protect healthy food and kill the population’s hunger, because this is also in our motto: the fight against hunger and misery. It is in this context that we continue to denounce companies”, says a note from the MST leadership.
Initiated at dawn on March 1st with a land occupation in Itaberaba (BA), the MST women’s journey includes, in addition to direct actions, marches, fairs, tree planting and food distribution. With the motto “Agribusiness profits from hunger and violence: for land and democracy, women in resistance!”, activities take place in at least 23 states.
“This year’s journey comes to affirm that agrarian reform, that women, that agroecology, that the production of healthy food is our bet to the detriment of a model that profits, explores human relations, which has violence as its main motto of life and that have hunger, exploitation, slave labor as this element of extracting everything that is from life in the name of profit”, points out Renata Menezes, member of the MST’s national leadership.
“Red Blood Wine”
women of @MST_Oficial protested in front of the headquarters of Salton, a winery from Rio Grande do Sul involved in work similar to slavery, in São Paulo.
The action is part of a journey of struggle for women that will last throughout the month of March. pic.twitter.com/eYU9aoLEJ7
— Brasil de Fato (@brasildefato) March 8, 2023
Agribusiness and slave labor
Salton, belonging to the family of the same surname, is one of the three largest wineries, alongside Aurora and Garibaldi, which had a contract with Fênix, a service provider caught subjecting 207 workers to conditions analogous to slavery in the loading and unloading of grapes, in Bento Gonçalves (RS).
The case came to light last February 22, with a rescue operation that was possible after three workers fled and filed a complaint. Among the violence imposed on them and their colleagues were assaults with electric shocks, pepper spray and batons.
After eight days without taking a position, Salton released a note saying that it will not adopt a “missing position” in relation to the episode and that it “vehemently repudiates any act of violation of human rights”.
In 2022, the winery – founded in 1910 – had its revenue record, reaching R$ 500 million. In the same period, Aurora earned BRL 756 million and Garibaldi, BRL 256 million. In total, the three companies involved in slavery practices earned BRL 2 billion just last year.
“It’s no use having productive land if it contains slave labor. It’s no use for us to have large organic productions if in these crops, if in this model of production, there are relationships that are the result of violence. It’s no use for us to think about any kind of of productivity, in relation to land and nature, if it has the exploitation of biodiversity with the logic of profit, with the logic of capital”, complements Renata Menezes.
Sought, Salton manifested itself through a note. The text states that the company “vehemently repudiates any form of violence that threatens the integrity of its employees and consumers”, even though the protest took place peacefully. Read the note in full below:
Regarding the incident that took place today (08/03) in front of its store, in São Paulo, Salton reinforces that it vehemently repudiates any form of violence that threatens the integrity of its employees and consumers. The winery has been working in full collaboration with MPT to build solid commitments, in addition to repairing the damage suffered by workers from the Fênix company, in the rescue that took place in the service provider’s accommodation.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
Leave a Reply