The pandemic travel crisis that has hit tourism dependent economies may only be beginning. Travel destinations from Thailand to Iceland were hoping that the Covid-19 vaccines would allow countries to reopen their borders and lead to a much-needed recovery in 2021. Now, with the vaccine rollout delayed in some places and the emergence of new viral strains, it seems more likely that international travel could be blocked for years. After declaring that 2020 was the worst year on record for tourism, with a billion fewer international arrivals, the United Nations World Tourism Organization says the prospects for a rebound for 2021 have deteriorated. In October, 79% of experts polled by the agency believed that a rebound in 2021 was possible. Only 50% said they believed in January, and around 41% did not believe travel would reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024 or beyond. James Sowane, who owns a transport company for tourists in Fiji, called a staff meeting earlier this month and told employees to start looking for other jobs. He recently took advantage of a government aid package and brought home laid-off workers, optimistic vaccines could trigger a resumption of travel as early as April. But now Mr Sowane doesn’t think tourists will be back until next year, and he and his wife can’t afford to continue paying salaries at their business, Pacific Destinations Fiji. He borrows from his bank to keep a few basic employees. .
One month after Ford announced the closure of its three remaining plants in Brazil, another company linked to its production chain laid off its workers, unleashing a wave of layoffs affecting various sectors of the auto industry. According to research by the Interunion Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIEESE), the 5,000 layoffs announced by Ford mark the potential for destruction of another 118,864 jobs, resulting in an annual wage loss of 2.5 billion reais (US $ 465 million).
Based on this perspective, one can predict the waves of opposition among Brazilian workers. On January 26, about 800 workers at the Arteb parts factory, located at the ABC industrial complex in São Paulo, went on strike to protest the 200 layoffs. Founded in 1934, Arteb produced headlights and headlights for major automakers, and blamed the layoffs on Ford’s closure in Brazil. Workers were fired by mail.
The strike was led by the ABC Metalworkers Union (SMABC), which is affiliated with the Workers’ Party (PT)-controlled CUT federation, and ended in just two days. The union acted swiftly to keep the strike isolated, without calling on other workers in the area who would soon face a similar situation. Linking layoffs to the company’s previous financial problems and the “normalized” high unemployment rate in the industry, the secretary general of SMABC, Moisés Selerges, proposed ending the strike.
“The situation is complicated. It’s not just Arteb’s problem, but the industry as a whole. The industry is submerged in water because this government does not have an industrial policy, ”Selerges said when meeting workers. “As I told you at the start, the union is working on a possible deal. So here’s a possible deal that we reached. “
The “may” deal reached by the union received 200 layoffs. Even in the face of obvious defeats for these workers, the union is still trying to boast that the negotiations have “guaranteed” severance pay, extended medical benefits to September and payment for strike days.
The announcement on the SMABC website on January 21 has warned of the general nature of the “Ford effect,” as evidenced by the recent cutbacks in working hours at factories in the ABC region that used to serve carmakers.
“With the announcement of the closure of Ford, we are concerned about the domino effect on auto parts in our region, as several companies supply products to auto manufacturers, including auto parts factories,” said another union official, Genildo Dias Pereira. “In São Bernardo, for example, we have Samot, Fiamm, Rassini, ZHS, Mahle, Selco, among many others. Not to mention that Arteb has closed the Camaçari factory [in the state of Bahia, where Ford had one of its factories] after the decision. “
This statement reveals that SMABC has predicted layoffs at Arteb and other factories. Their actions during the strike demonstrate the decisive role of trade unions in this process: any spark of resistance must be quelled immediately so as not to spread into the generalized working class movement.
While CUT carries out its role in the ABC region, its branch in the city of Taubaté, in rural São Paulo, works to control the anger of 830 workers who were fired from one of the Ford factories. Since the closure was announced, a group of employees has taken turns on permanent guard in front of the factory, preventing its machines from being moved. The Metal Workers Union of Repentance (Sindimetau), however, is working to divert workers from any concrete struggle against capitalism, and in fact put all “worldly problems” aside.
In a motorcade held on January 29, Sindimetau union officials led the workers in a religious ritual, bringing about 300 cars to Brazil’s largest cathedral in Aparecida. Reporting the motorcade, the union declared: “The message from the ‘Nazareth Workers’ in the fight against the specter of unemployment strengthens workers at this Friday mass at the Aparecida National Temple.”
While trying to assuage the anger of the workers with religious sermons and the hope of a miracle falling from heaven, the unions increasingly disarm their struggles, trying to divert them to purely legal and parliamentary channels.
Three civilian questions were opened by the Ministry of Labor in the region where Ford has stopped production. On February 5, a decision by two labor judges suspended the possible collective dismissal of Ford employees working at the Taubaté and Camaçari plants.
According to Judge Andréia de Oliveira, chairman of the Second Labor Court in Taubaté, “The size of the company, the number of direct and indirect jobs affected and the social impact on the country does not allow for a simple solution to this case.” In contrast, the judge responsible for analyzing the Camaçari case stated that the mass layoffs without communication and negotiation with the union “would be fraught with insurmountable crimes, violating workers’ constitutional rights.”
The court rulings, however, were temporary in nature, conditioning the suspension of layoffs over negotiating severance pay with respective unions.
According to a report on the UOL Cars website, Ford has allocated US $ 4.2 billion for the closure of its operations in Brazil. Most of this amount will be used to compensate dealers, factory workers, suppliers and companies that provide services at the factory, as well as pay off loans from the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES).
Everything suggests that workers will face a tentative agreement negotiated between the union and Ford, similar to that reached at the São Bernardo do Campo factory, which closed in 2019. The union follows the same political roadmap used by SMABC at the time. On that occasion, World Socialist Web Site analyzed:
“When news of the Ford closure broke, the SMABC did everything in its power to undermine the workers, who were on strike for 42 days. The unions prevented any move to occupy the factory or any act of expanding the struggle. The union instead ordered striking workers to go home and wait for negotiations. He refused to call for concerted action with contract workers or the 20,000 affected in the auto parts industry. This ultimately ended the strike under management terms, acting in collaboration with the São Paulo government, which announced it would serve as intermediary in Ford’s negotiations with Caoa. [the company that first signaled interest in buying the plant]. “
As is now known, no other automaker has taken over the factory, and the area was purchased to possibly be converted into a logistics center or shopping center. However, Julio Bonfim, president of the Camaçari Metalworkers Union and official of the Maoist Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), is now using this promise – that other automakers will take over production at the factory – to deceive workers.
While working with the governor of Bahia, Rui Costa of PT, on a committee looking for companies interested in operating the automotive park, Bonfim had taken layoffs for granted, asking only for severance pay. “If Ford has closed its activities and there is no chance of staying in Camaçari, then let them negotiate the severance pay fairly,” he said.
No severance pay can offset the dire consequences of massive unemployment to come. Of the nearly 6,000 workers Ford currently employs in Brazil, 4,600 (75 percent) of them work at the Ford Complex in Camaçari. Much of the city’s economy is dependent on industrial complexes. The city mayor has announced cuts in public education and health care in response to a loss of 10 percent of tax revenue, while demand for these services will only increase as thousands of workers lose their medical care after being removed from work.
It is important that while all the trade unions involved are linked to the same political force, ultimately the Labor Party, no unified struggle is organized among the workers they represent. Workers need to learn from the betrayal of the struggle against the closure of the 2019 Ford plant on ABC. This meant breaking with the union leadership which led them to crushing defeats and establishing independent committees to organize the collective struggle against layoffs and factory closings.
Two Brazilian labor judges have banned US carmaker Ford from carrying out mass layoffs for closing its manufacturing facilities in the country.
The two decisions were issued on Friday evening, according to Brazil’s Agencia news agency.
The ban is in effect until negotiations with the union are successful, according to the report.
Judges at Taubate in Sao Paulo state and in Camacari in Bahia state imposed fines of up to 100,000 reais (about $ 18,626) per employee affected by the violation. Ford can appeal the ban.
The carmaker recently announced it would stop production in Brazil and close its three remaining plants there, after more than 100 years of operation in the country.
Ford ever consecutive losses in recent years, which would lead to a pretax deduction of about $ 4.1 billion, the company said in January.
Chief executive Jim Farley said it was a “very difficult but necessary” decision.
Brazil’s Ministry of Economy said it regretted Ford’s decision, which it said went against the strong recovery seen in most of the country’s industrial sectors.
Thousands of employees were affected, according to reports on Brazil’s G1 news website.
Factories in Camacari and Taubate will close soon, while production at the Troller subsidiary in Horizonte in Ceara state will resume for several months.
New London – At the walking food distribution point of St. Sea Star Church. Mary on Huntington Street, recipients on Friday collect pre-packaged canned and pasta bags, a 5-pound bag of potatoes, two bags of apples, one bag of three or four pounds of frozen turkey, along with two or three bottles of juice and half a gallon of milk. .
“I haven’t used a soup kitchen in 15 years,” says Kasey Belair of Waterford. I’m grateful for everything.
Belair, who has cut her hours at the Mohegan Sun Casino, said her husband was retired and that her mother was disabled. Most of the food he received was for his mother. Belair said he was surprised by the quality of the food that was distributed, especially frozen turkey.
The Connecticut Food Bank / Foodshare weekly food distribution has been running for the last three Fridays in New London, with nearly 300 people per week carrying boxes or tote bags or pulling carts to the walkway.
According to the Connecticut Food Bank, food insecurity in the state is estimated to have increased 28% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research by Feeding America estimates 545,000 people, including 164,000 children, in the state are struggling with food insecurity. In New London County, the number of people facing food shortages increased 36% during the pandemic, and the number of children jumped 49%.
Agencies are working to meet the growing need for food and other services, while also shifting to new distribution methods and COVID-19 safety protocols.
At Groton Human Services, office assistant Megan Freeman said the phone was ringing with people asking for food, household goods and pet food, and other services, such as rental assistance.
“Needs remain constant as many residents are still experiencing reduced working hours or have been laid off due to the effects of the pandemic and are having difficulty paying monthly bills including rent and utilities, in particular,” said Director Marge Fondulas. He said the need was at least double during the pandemic. Many of the department’s assisted clients didn’t use services before the pandemic, but now they need them.
While the Humanitarian Services building is closed to the public, social workers accept applications for assistance by phone, and email client documentation or place them in drop boxes outside the building, said Fondulas. Staff members stepped in to carry and sort food and collect food bags, as most of the volunteers did not come to the building due to safety protocols. The agency provides food from the Groton Food Locker to Groton residents in need, by agreement, he said.
“We remain impressed by the generosity of local residents who consistently provide food and monetary donations,” said Fondulas, explaining that the agency depends on grants and donations to maintain the assistance. Donors have used their stimulus payments to buy food for food lockers or to donate funds to food lockers or the department’s Donation Trust Fund, which is often used to help clients with rent. The department also receives grants from the United Way and the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.
Groton Human Services averages nearly 100 individual food distributions from food lockers to households per month now, compared to about 35 before the pandemic, said Finance Assistant Heidi McSwain.
Lisa Carney, a social worker at the department, said food lockers were available by appointment every two weeks – and many people came every two weeks – to pick up food. People have also received items such as toiletries and cleaning supplies donated by the Groton Elks Club, he said.
In addition, Stephen Pulaski, a licensed clinical social worker and youth counselor, continues to provide counseling via in-person appointments with safety protocols, or remote appointments. She has helped younger clients, who may feel frustrated with technology during distance learning, and teens, who may feel disconnected from her social group, to express their feelings and find ways to cope with them.
Norwich Human Services does not run a traditional food pantry but offers grocery store gift cards for residents in need. Director Lee-Ann Gomes said requests for help had skyrocketed, as food sources had dwindled during the pandemic.
Prior to this past March, the agency distributed about $ 100 a week in grocery gift cards and referred residents to St. Petersburg. Vincent de Paul Place for daily hot meals and the Lee Memorial United Methodist Church on Washington Street for a monthly meal. The two have turned to packaged food during the pandemic, which may be more difficult for some families, said Gomes.
Norwich Human Services has expanded its food gift card program through donations. Since March, it has received more than $ 5,000 – including $ 4,400 in handbag sales fundraisers led by Town Planning Directors Deanna Rhodes and Alderwoman Stacy Gould – in donations for grocery gift cards. Gomes said one anonymous donor gave $ 600, and another donated a recent $ 600 federal stimulus check.
He said all the money donated was used for food, as families cut their food budgets to pay rent, utilities, car bills and now internet connection fees. The agency uses the federal Community Development Block Grants to help people with rent and utilities.
Gomes said he learned about one distressed family through school officials who visited the home to check the children’s attendance and quickly learned that his mother had no food. Gomes went home with a grocery gift card and commuter bus ticket to allow him to go to the shop.
$ 4,400 from the handbag fundraiser was lost, Gomes said. He has instructed his staff to get $ 25, $ 50, and $ 100 grocery gift cards into the family’s hands as quickly as possible.
Dina Sears-Graves, vice president of community impact at Gemma E. Moran United Way / Labor Food Bank in New London, sees the need for increased food aid. Hundreds of people, many recently laid off or laid off from work at the start of the pandemic, storm a mobile food distribution event on March 25 in New London at the start of the pandemic.
Sears-Graves says typically, the Gemma Moran center – which supplies food to dozens of food kitchens and social service agencies across the region – relies on a lot of winter food drives to restock its shelves after the holidays. But this year, with many people working from homes and churches and community groups with limited activities, the urge for food has fallen sharply.
United Way now runs a virtual food drive on its website, www.uwsect.org, where donors can choose to donate a complete grocery bag or specific items.
Sears-Graves says the federal Farmers to Families lunchbox distribution program has helped fill the gap. Since October, United Way has coordinated the distribution of more than 23,000 boxes to New London County residents, each containing 5 pounds of meat, 5 pounds of produce and 5 pounds of dairy products. “The boxes have reduced our food service burden,” he said. “We are very lucky to have the boxes. This balances our supply. “
United Way is awaiting details of the upcoming fourth round of the distribution of Farmers to Families lunchboxes in early February and is partnering with housing authorities and housing complexes to help distribute food boxes to residents unable to reach distribution sites.
“It is very important to convey food to the public through various sources,” he added.
On Friday, Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., And a group of their colleagues, announced that they plan to reintroduce a bill in Congress requiring the federal government to pay 100% “of fees to states and localities so they can partner with restaurants and a non-profit organization to prepare nutritious food for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and underprivileged children. “
Theresa Hammer of Groton, which is in distribution Friday in New London, is in her second layoff from Foxwoods Resort Casino, where she worked for five years. “It’s out of their control,” he said of his employer. “They were very good to me.” She is aware of online food distribution and says it helps cover other expenses.
New London’s Nicholas Martino said he picked up “staples” at Friday’s distribution, including vegetables and fruit, to help stretch his limited income. He lost his job when the Hermosa Group power company in Groton closed down. She said she had scoured the internet for work without success. Navy veterans and volunteer graduate culinary schools are numerous in the city, helping veterans, the homeless and community dining programs. After the pandemic clears up, he hopes to host a cooking show for the local homeless.
Paul Shipman, a spokesman for the Connecticut Food Bank, said in the last six months of 2020, his agency distributed 15.8 million pounds of food in six Connecticut counties, including New London County, an increase of 2 million pounds over the previous six months.
Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare co-sponsor four weekly food distribution locations across the state, including a new distribution in New London from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Friday at St. Sea Star Church. Mary, 10 Huntington St., and in Norwich from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Monday in a former Foxwoods employee car park on 28 Stonington Road-Route 2.
“The pandemic has caused unemployment and significant economic stress for families, and we know that demand will remain high over the coming months,” Shipman said. “The new weekly distribution we offer in New London and Norwich will help households in need.”
Think of your favorite local eateries: mom and pop locations that have been in business for decades, new artisanal establishments that recently moved, and eateries that feel like an extension of your home. According to a summer report commissioned by the Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), 85% of these independent US restaurants will go bankrupt without adequate financial assistance from the US government. Two weeks ago, the IRC released a new statement bluntly titled: “Nearby Restaurants and Their Employees Are Out of Choices and Congress Is Running Out.”
As Covid-19 cases continue to increase day by day, reaching surprising new highs, new eating regulations are introduced at the state and state level and more states report considering day-to-day closings. Without bold Congressional action, restaurant and bar owners are left alone to seek new business approaches in a bid to survive the challenging winter season ahead.
Clearly, the winter time ban on indoor dining is very different from the spring and summer time restrictions that many restaurants and bars were not aware of earlier this year. With no street food options and the usual outdoor picnics, the restaurant faces a dark, gloomy winter. Fortunately, US restaurants have cautionary guidelines for managing winter shade on-site.
“Restaurants in the Northern Hemisphere would be wise to take a page off the guidelines of some of their Southern Hemisphere peers,” Juan Garcia, founder of ratings and restaurant reviews sites. Foodporn Tell me. “In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the entire winter months from July to October are spent in phase four of the lockdown; which means restaurants, cafes, and bars are completely closed to dining customers. This is forcing a transformation never before seen in Melbourne hospitality. ”
Although Melbourne winters don’t come with the snow blankets expected in much of the US, Australians accustomed to sunshine don’t want to eat outdoors in the blistering 50 degree winter weather, so restaurants and bars are forced to find ways to generate income and engenders brand love without bringing visitors to their place.
Importantly, Garcia reports, Melbourne restaurant chefs and employees are becoming social media experts, taking to the platform to provide information and entertainment to customers. The key to this post is to foster a sense of community and intimacy. Many chefs hold videos of their home kitchens or give tours of backyard pantries.
At Maha, an upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in Melbourne, chef Shane Delia is launching his own cooking series during the closing. Every Friday night, Shane walked in Instagram to host live instructional videos to teach various cooking techniques, sometimes with guest chefs.
“This video offers viewers and potential guests a peek behind the restaurant scenes and cultivates a one-on-one relationship with Shane and the guest chefs and cooks he meets every week. Shane often shoots these videos from his own home, inviting the audience into his personal space, which adds an additional dimension of intimacy to the audience and strengthens the relationship between the customer, Shane and the restaurant, “said Garcia. Attica chef Ben Shewry shared some of his legendary recipes over the years “Cook-A-Long Cook-Ins” through social channels.
At Atlas, in South Yarra, Australia, head chef Charlie Carrington has paired an instructional video with an in-house tableware delivery business, where boxes are filled with pre-prepared ingredients. This 30-minute meal allows people to “travel from home,” the brand says. Two weeks after the delivery of the home supplies and the virtual engagement plan, Atlas had the two most profitable days on record, according to reports for Smart Company.
During their winter months, others under the company take over many of the same tactics as restauranteurs in the northern hemisphere, turned their once-occupied restaurant into an ingredient marketplace, offered family meal plans, and created a customer loyalty program. Melbourne’s Shawcross Pizza reported “a huge increase in sales during the pandemic by leveraging its digital channels to drive orders and promote their loyalty discounts,” noted Garcia. Loyalty club members save 25% per order by entering the naughty code ‘FCKCORONA’ at checkout and receive a free meal when they reach an important point count.
Restaurant and bar owners in the US are fighting a public that really cares about eating out. According to a recent finding by market research firm Datassential, 44% of Americans say they “definitely avoid eating out,” a figure that is up 24% since March and 2% since late October. But other opportunities presented themselves to American food business owners.
First, US restaurants may see an increase in orders around the holiday. “Consumers who make different holiday plans are open to using food services this year, especially to complement their meals with side dishes, appetizers and desserts that have been prepared. The cutlery and food delivered can also drive sales, more than just opening for Thanksgiving or other holiday food traffic, ” Datassential shared in their latest report.
Furthermore, many people, especially Gen-Z and Millennial diners, are trying out the new winter outdoor dinner concept. Over 60% of Datassential’s total survey respondents, generation after generation, noted that a cabin, igloo, or greenhouse seating, heated table (such as Japanese kotatsu), and a heated patio covered in plastic or plexiglass is a “very” or “mildly” dining option this winter.
After nine months of quasi-quarantine culture, many long for the days when they could return to the center of social life: restaurants and bars. Some people may be willing to sit on plexiglass cubes because, after all, we all get tired of life spent at home in isolation. But, we also need to hope that there are local restaurants and bars to return to once it’s safe to reopen. Without government help, it’s up to us, the eaters, to support our local restaurants and bars (temporarily advocating for government action), and it’s up to business owners to create experience-hungry customers and communities who want to spend time and money with them – at home and online.
“The key to successfully reopening is the relationship you build with your customers,” said Garcia, who can now watch the Australian market recover from their winter close. “Building a community around your brand means maintaining strength. Remember that, and you will be doing great things in the weeks and months to come. “