SAO PAULO – Dozens of workers protested on Tuesday in front of Brazilian poultry giant BRF’s headquarters to denounce the European Union’s decision to establish import restrictions on meat from Brazil.
Some 50 people gathered Tuesday morning in front of the BRF building, the world’s largest poultry meat exporter, to defend their jobs against possible layoffs over the EU decision.
Last month, BRF was implicated in a Brazilian federal police investigation, which has attempted to demonstrate that the poultry giant was involved in a network of companies falsifying the results of food safety controls.
As a result, the European Commission announced last week that it would suspend imports from 20 Brazilian meat plants, including several BRF plants.
“The decision affects many BRF plants and we are concerned about the loss of jobs. Workers are worried about the possibility of dismissals,” Antonio Vitor, head of the Federation of Food Industry Workers of Sao Paolo State, said in a statement.
Congressman Aldo Rebelo, who also participated in Tuesday’s demonstration, said that the EU’s decision was a “protectionist measure” against Brazilian meat using “sanitary issues” as a pretext.
“This evidently affects jobs and workers. The unions organizing the protest against this embargo and this protectionist measure urge the Brazilian government to take action to counter the decision, which affects the country’s economy, exports and workers,” Rebelo told EFE.
Rebelo, a member of former presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff’s cabinets, urged current President Michel Temer’s administration to appeal the EU’s decision at “every international institution.”
According to the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), which represents dozens of meat companies, the decline in poultry exports to the European Union could generate losses of around 30 percent in the affected plants in 2018.