Explosion at the Tres Arroyos poultry farm in Entre Ríos

On the night of Thursday the 9th, an explosion occurred in an ammonia pipe at the La China poultry refrigeration plant of the Tres Arroyos company, in Concepción del Uruguay (Entre Ríos), one of the largest chicken meat processors in the country.

The explosion meant that a couple of workers had to be assisted, especially one of them who was closest to the incident in the engine room and who managed to activate the alarm. He was hospitalized with oxygen, with burns on his legs, irritation in his respiratory tract and, although fortunately he is out of danger, he continues under ophthalmological observation since the ammonia directly affected his vision.

Workers reported that the company, at first, did not want to activate the protocol so that the event would not become public, but it was impossible for them. Both because of the worker’s state of health and because of the smell of ammonia, which not only spread within the plant but to all the surrounding neighborhoods.

Such was the seriousness of the event that the company had to interrupt the work and excuse the majority of the workers from that shift. In previous ammonia leaks (this is not the first time this has happened), the company, after ventilating for a few minutes, called the workers back inside the plant to continue producing. This time he couldn’t repeat it again. What he did do was quickly communicate to the media that it was a minor accident, that the protocol was effectively activated and hid the seriousness of what happened to the workers who were in the machine room.

These types of situations are also commonly repeated in the by-product area where the boilers explode due to lack of maintenance, seriously burning colleagues. The only difference is that production is not stopped every time it happens.

What was also not reported to the media was that since there were 16 chicken piles left, they ordered those in charge to end production. All working in the presence of the ammonia that was inside the factory, as well as the chicken that was later released for consumption.

Tres Arroyos, owned by the De Grazia brothers, is a food company that did not stop producing for even a second during the pandemic and that today has skyrocketing profits, because containers with merchandise continue to leave its plants, both for the domestic sector and for the export.

Despite this, a few months ago, with the endorsement of the union and the delegates, it managed to declare itself in a “crisis preventive competition.” A trick to be able to ignore labor rights, reduce staff and not invest in maintenance.

The workers maintain that the company is not investing in maintenance items and, to make matters worse, it has recently suspended these maintenance tasks on weekends, when they are extremely necessary.

The role of the local executive committee of the Food Union was regrettable. The general secretary, who is also a national peer, made radio statements recounting the explosion, asking the company to carry out an expert opinion itself, and also informing that the protocols that were applied were correct.

The accident occurred on the day of the national strike that the STIA leadership boycotted. He didn’t even hold assemblies to organize it. Of course, he didn’t move either. So the workers, disorganized by their union, went to work. And the same did the plant delegates, who criticize the leadership of the STIA, but they also carried out the strike.

The entire factory has to take stock of what happened, both due to the bursting of the pipe that transports ammonia and the working conditions, as well as the fact that they were abandoned to their fate when millions of workers joined the national strike on the 9th, which repudiated Milei’s policy and its Basic Law, which brutally attacks all of the country’s workers, with slave labor reform, retirement reform that prevents retirement, handing over the country to international corporations, reinstating the salary (profits) tax, and a long etcetera.

To begin with, there must be true safety and hygiene commissions voted on by workers in assemblies, with the power to interrupt tasks when there are situations of risk for workers and provide the necessary conditions to protect our health.

A forceful strike: to prepare a massive mobilization against the law Bases

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