Sale of Avibras to Australian group is an attack on Brazil's national sovereigntySale of Avibras to Australian group is an attack on Brazil's national sovereignty

Union continues to mobilize workers in defence of jobs, rights and wages

Metalworkers’ Union of São José dos Campos and Region

The sale of Avibras, Brazil’s main defense industry, is at an advanced stage of negotiation with the Australian company DefendTex. The announcement was made on Monday (1). The Metalworkers’ Union of São José dos Campos and Region, affiliated to CSP-Conlutas and the legitimate representative of Avibras workers, has registered its opposition to the handing over of a strategic Brazilian company to foreign capital. This is a huge step backwards for national sovereignty, as we argue below:

If the transaction goes through, the new group will take over Avibras in the face of a historic mobilization underway, with a struggle for jobs and rights and a strike against wage arrears. Regardless of the change in the company’s management, the union will continue to mobilize metalworkers for the complete regularization of the situation, as well as for the nationalization of Avibras under workers’ control.

Founded in 1961 by a group of engineers from the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), Avibras is one of Brazil’s pioneers in aircraft construction, space research programs and the development and manufacture of special vehicles for civilian and military purposes. Located in Jacareí, in the Paraíba Valley, it is part of the country’s main aerospace technology center.

The company participates in the Brazilian Space Program, manufacturing rocket engines. In addition, with the injection of public money, it has developed the capacity to produce armaments and war equipment, such as missiles, rocket launchers, armored vehicles, smart bombs, satellite communication systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Because of its history, it is considered strategic to the aspirations of a nation that wants to be sovereign.

Government inertia

Due to the crisis faced by Avibras workers, who have been without pay for 11 months, the Union has been defending the nationalization of the company over the years as the only way to keep jobs and accumulated knowledge on Brazilian soil. But what we have seen is inertia on the part of the federal government. But there is still time to change this situation. It is urgent that the government nationalize Avibras.

While several countries are investing heavily in the defense sector, Brazil and its ruling class are watching and agreeing to hand over their most important company in the segment to an international group.

Astros II Avibras – São José dos Campos – Photo: Disclosure/Avibras

Delayed salaries

We share the workers’ anguish and reaffirm that the federal government could have advanced payments on contracts with Avibras so that salaries could be regularized, but nothing was done.

We understand that, for employees, the news of the sale of the company may represent hope of receiving their salaries. However, there is no guarantee that jobs will be preserved and there is no information that salaries will be paid.

Since 2022, the union has been sending letters asking for intervention from the federal government, which has done nothing to resolve the situation. From Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), there hasn’t even been an emergency plan to help the workers.

The union met with Defense Minister José Múcio Monteiro and Vice-President Geraldo Alckmin (PSB) on more than one occasion. Despite promises to evaluate the case, no effective measures have been adopted in favor of the Avibras workers. On the contrary: the federal government went so far as to buy defense equipment from foreign conglomerates, disregarding national production and job creation.

Losses for Brazil

Selling Avibras means transferring 63 years of high-tech production to another country. The biggest beneficiaries will be the Australian company and the current president of Avibras, João Brasil, who holds 98% of the shares.

Encouraging foreign capital and privatizations also harms the working class. Companies that are essential to the country have been denationalized and privatized, such as Vale do Rio Doce, Eletrobras and Embraer.

The Metalworkers’ Union reaffirms its fight for the nationalization of Avibras and, until that happens, for the payment of all unpaid wages and the guarantee of workers’ jobs. The struggle at Avibras continues!

More information: Weller Gonçalves – +55 (12) 99158-9058 *** Translated by DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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