Slave labor: ‘Aurora will be remembered’, says executive – 05/24/2023 – Market

Slave labor: ‘Aurora will be remembered’, says executive – 05/24/2023 – Market

After an event in which representatives of wineries, authorities and sector entities signed a memorandum of intent for good labor practices, the general manager of Aurora winery, Rodrigo Arpini Valério, said he believes that the company will be remembered “for the rest of time” about the episode in which more than 200 workers were rescued from conditions similar to slavery, in February 2023.

The workers, almost entirely prospected in Bahia, were hired by the Fênix company and provided services to the Aurora, Garibaldi and Salton wineries. In March, the three companies signed a Conduct Adjustment Agreement with the Rio Grande do Sul Labor Ministry.

Valério, from Aurora, said that he sees the company as “co-responsible” for the “lack of management of a third party”. He compared the way the consumer received the episode to a love affair.

“Brands like Aurora, mothers put on the table for their children. There was a love relationship there. When someone cheats in a love relationship, as a couple, it will always be hurt. It will go down in history. Aurora will be remembered for the rest of the time,” he said.

Valério, however, believes that the company can rebuild its brand if it manages to show that it has made a complete transition in its production chain. Among other measures, the company released a booklet called the Decent Work Implementation Guide to its members and claims to have revised all contracts in force.

“Without a doubt, the next grape harvest will be the most covered in the world [pela imprensa]. And we have to be able to show that decent work will take place from harvesting to industrialization. We will even monitor the sleep of the hikers”, says Valério.

The speech took place after the executive received from the hands of the Minister of Labor and Employment, Luiz Marinho, a certificate of adherence to a “Pact for the Adoption of Good Labor Practices in Viticulture in Rio Grande do Sul” at an event held at the Legislative Assembly of Rio Grande do Sul, this Wednesday (24), in Porto Alegre. Sitting in the front row, representatives of the three wineries did not speak.

Maurício Salton, director-president of Salton winery, refused the interview request from Sheet claiming to be in a hurry to leave the event. Alexandre Angonese, executive director of Garibaldi, said that adherence to the protocol is “yet another demonstration” that the company is assuming its “social responsibility”.

“Making it clear that nothing that happened was at the wineries, but that we are committed in terms of image and responsibility that we have socially speaking in complying with the legislation and mainly respecting labor rights”, said Angonese.

Before distributing the certificates, Minister Luiz Marinho received a report from the External Representation Commission of the Legislative Assembly that investigated the case that occurred in Serra Gaúcha.

According to one of the representatives, state deputy Matheus Gomes (PSOL), one of the problems identified by the working group was the dismantling of actions to eradicate slave labor, which would have lost budget and efforts since 2015.

In his speech at the Assembly, Marinho emphasized the need to provide in the contract the responsibility of those who hire outsourced companies over the entire production chain. He also said that Brazilian society needs to rise up against the problem.

“Our mission is not to rescue workers, it is to eliminate this condition. It is to prevent it from happening. And we are not going to solve it only with government action. […] We will only be successful if Brazilian society assumes this mission. We need outrage, enough is enough. We will no longer accept slavery,” he said.

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