Bloomberg News

Vale to Cut 140 Jobs at Brazil Operations, Union Says

November 21, 2008

Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, plans to cut 140 jobs at its port, rail and pellet operations at Tubarao in Brazil's southeastern state of Espirito Santo, a trade union said today.

The Vitoria, Espirito Santo-based Sindicato dos Ferroviarios do Espirito Santo e Minas Gerais union, known as Sindfer, was informed of the cuts in a meeting today with Vale officials, Carlos Uliana, a union spokesman, said today in a telephone interview.

Fernando Thompson, a spokesman with Vale in Rio de Janeiro, declined to comment. Thompson said earlier today by telephone that adjustments are necessary and that ``the company is adapting its workforce as a consequence of the 30 million-ton- per-year iron-ore production cut already announced,'' as demand slows for the company's products.

``Vale started a program of layoffs at Tubarao on Nov. 3, after announcing iron-ore and pellets production cuts on Oct. 31, and 40 of the total of 140 have already been dismissed,'' Uliana said. ``We received formal notice of the layoffs only today and are awaiting a reply from Vale to a series of demands presented in the meeting.''

Sindfer is demanding that Vale pay fired workers a bonus of about 2,075 reais ($838) in addition to payments required under Brazilian law, Uliana said. The union also said Vale should ensure retirement benefits and continue to cover the costs of school fees, monthly food baskets and health care until November 2009, he said.

About 2,100 of Vale's 6,000 employees at Tubarao are affiliated with Sindfer, the union spokesman said. Vale employs a total of 52,000 people worldwide, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana Kinch in Rio de Janeiro

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at

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