Platform of Workers and Peasants debate energy model with the federal government

As a result of the work of the joint platform of Workers and Peasants for Energy, there was held in Brasilia a National Seminar on the energy model: present and […]

As a result of the work of the joint platform of Workers and Peasants for Energy, there was held in Brasilia a National Seminar on the energy model: present and perspective. The activity was organized by the Platform in conjunction with the Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic and brought together 200 leaders of social movements, unions, politicians and religious leaders at the Presidential Palace, on 19 and 20 April.

“The activity is the result of debates organised by the Platform as an effort to make the debate on energy policy happen as widely as possible amongst workers and citizens and not only restricted groups and companies related to the energy sector, major industries and financial markets” says Joceli Andrioli, from the national coordination of MAB and the Platform.

During the meeting, social movements and workers’ organizations stressed the need to build a new energy model, determined by the needs of the Brazilian people and not by the capitalistic system as it is today. “The development should take into consideration not only economic aspects but also social and environmental” said Bishop William Werlang, from the National Confederation of Bishops of Brazil, in the opening panel.

The movements made a point that the issue of the model not only refers to the way of generating energy, ie, whether it will be through hydroelectric, thermoelectric or other sources. The questioning is to whom and for what purpose the energy serves. “If we produce energy so cheap, why we pay so expensive? Who benefits from this model are not workers, but the speculative financial capital” said Joceli.

For the renewal of concessions and against precarious employment

One of the issues raised by the platform is the renewal of concessions in the electricity sector, understood as a way to combat the advance of privatization, because most of the contracts that will expire are in the hands of the state. “The sector workers advocate the immediate renewal” said Franklin Moreira of the National Federation of Urban (FNU).

Another point brought by the electricity workers is the issue of outsourcing, which not only undermines the working conditions but cost lives of workers. In Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig), for example, one worker dies every 45 outsourced days. 
Workers recognize the importance of creating a space for debate and dialogue with the government, but want also participate in the decisions about the direction of the country’s energy sector.

From governments side, participated ministries, such as Mines and Energy and Environment, and the Secretariat of the Presidency, the latter responsible for building a dialogue between the government and social movements. Heads of state run energy sector and from the National Agency of Electrical Energy (ANEEL) also participated as the Workers and Peasants Platform for Energy the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), the National Federation of Urban Workers (FNU / CUT), the Movement of Landless Workers (MST), the Federation of Oil Workers (FUP), the Small Farmers Movement (MPA) and the unions Synergy (Florianópolis), Sindieletro (Minas Gerais) and Senge (Curitiba).

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