Chile: Migrant workers benefit from BWI’s COVID-19 Solidarity Initiative

"Thank you very much for this gesture. God bless the life of every person who motivated you to do this.”

This was the statement made by Darianjel Cueva, one of the migrant workers who was reached by BWI’s COVID-19 Solidarity Initiative. According to Trade Union of Workers in Masisa Mapal Plant, a BWI-affiliated union in the Biobío region of Chile, 120 people from 25 migrant worker families, originally from Venezuela and Colombia who came to Chile to work in the timber industry, received bags of food, groceries and medicines.

“The aid came from workers to help fellow workers. Amidst the pandemic, what we need is strong working class solidarity,” union president Roberto Burgo said.  

The worker-beneficiaries worked at the MASISA Mapal plant located in San Pedro de la Paz, in the Biobío region of Chile. The timber industry is main source of livelihood in the region employing both national and migrant workers. Many workers continued working until their wages were reduced due to the economic readjustments implemented by the contractor company. Many workers, who tested positive for COVID-19, were also separated from their jobs. Unfortunately, they have also infected their families. 

As of 10 July, Chile has 306,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,682 deaths. In the Biobío region, there are 7,980 positive cases and 67 deaths.