Industrial action began at the automotive and aviation leather maker on June 2 following a meeting between company officials, the Union and representatives from the Ministry of Labour. The leader of the Union of Tannery Workers (UOC), Pablo Garcia, told Uruguay’s El País that the action was to “send a signal” to the company. However, Zenda, which is now owed by JBS Couros, is understood to be not accepting the reinstatement of the seven workers who were sent unemployment papers on May 30.

The tannery in Nuevo Paris employs 800 workers and they have been seeking improved working conditions at the plant according to local media reports following a recent incident where a contracted maintenance worker was seriously injured. The Union also claims that non-Union workers are offered higher pay to perform similar roles to Union members.

JBS Couros acquired Zenda, which was owned by the Brazilian meat group Marfrig since 2009, last year. The company exports processed hides to South Africa (where it has a plant) and Mexico, sourcing around 50% of its domestic hides, but importing hides and leather from Brazil and the European Union.