3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Ecuador

The ITUC affiliates in Ecuador are the Central Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones Clasistas (CEDOC) and the Confederación Sindical de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores del Ecuador (CSE).

In practice

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On 22 July 2014, Dr. Carlos...31-01-2015

On 22 July 2014, Dr. Carlos Figueroa, trade union leader and former executive secretary of the Ecuadorian medical federation Federación Médica Ecuatoriana was arrested by the police in the city of Quito whilst visiting his mother who was terminally ill with cancer. On 24 March 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had requested that precautionary measures be adopted for Carlos Figueroa, calling on the Republic of Ecuador to immediately suspend the court ruling delivered in 2013 by the National Court of Justice, which had sentenced him to six months in prison on charges of “defamation”, for having allegedly slandered the president of Ecuador on requesting the Public Prosecution Service to investigate the appropriateness of the president’s order to have military forces intervene in the National Police Hospital in Quito, during the political crisis of September 2010, given the number of people killed in the incident. The IACHR requested that the sentence be suspended pending the Commission’s ruling on the petition regarding the lack of due process in the trial of the trade union leader, as well as that of the oil union leader Fernando Villavicencio and National Assembly Member Cléver Jimenez. On 18 January 2015, Figueroa completed the prison term and was released.

On 27 May 2014, the National Court of Justice found Mery Zamora, former president of the Unión Nacional de Educadores, innocent, overturning the eight-year prison sentence she had been given for sabotage and terrorism. President Correa immediately announced that the government would examine the sentence, challenging the authority of the judiciary.

Since the end of 2014, the Ecuadorian government and the Assembly Members from its political movement have been pushing through changes to the Constitution of the Republic. The Constitutional Court classed the changes as “amendments”, which meant they could be decided on by the National Assembly, in which the ruling party has an absolute majority. Two of these amendments seek to eradicate freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
in the public sector (Art. 229 and 326.16), by progressively withdrawing the classification of employees as “public workers”. The implication of this move is that all such workers would be classed as public servants and their employment relationship would be governed by the Organic Law on the Public Service - LOSEP (part of administrative law), which prohibits the right to organise and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
as well as the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. These “amendments” passed the first discussion in Congress on December 2014, and only have to pass a second and final debate, to be held in November 2015, before entering into force.

Other violations:

Restrictions on freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
: elimination of trade unions, legal inability to organise, government interference and control, ‘parallel’ organisations, withdrawal/denial of union dues check-off check-off A system where union dues and fees are automatically deducted by the employer from the workers’ paychecks and then remitted to the respective union. , administrative barriers to the development of organisations, and refusal to grant trade union leave.

Executive Decree 16, of June 2013, provides for the administrative dissolution of social organisations (including trade unions), without due process or the right to defence (Art. 25 and 26). It also stipulates that organisations not registering with the Social and Civil Society Organisations Unified Information System will not be able to operate in the country (sixth transitional provision), violating the principle of voluntary action and autonomous decision making within these organisations.

Limitations on the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
: the Ecuadorian constitution recognises the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
and then goes on to prohibit all public service stoppages, without distinguishing those considered to be essential. Public service stoppages, moreover, are classed as offences, punishable by one to three years in prison, under Article 346 of the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code, without any distinction being made with regard to the services concerned (including in the event of declaring a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
).

Loss of representation, deinstitutionalisation of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. and tripartism tripartism The principle of involvement of and interaction between three parties having equal status, namely the social partners and the government.

See social dialogue, International Labour Organization
: piecemeal negotiations held at the discretion of the state, in its capacity as the employer, have replaced worker representation on the boards of public companies, leading to greater fragmentation and political control of the public sector and excluding workers from discussions, opinions or agreements regulating labour relations, and all aspects affecting or relating to public service workers.

Changes to collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
rules and its progressive restriction: since the government unilaterally revised the collective agreements in the public sector, restricting the workers’ ability to participate, prohibiting any revision or challenge to these impositions at administrative, legal or even constitutional level; to date, the curtailment of the guarantees and benefits affecting the principle of the intangibility of labour rights remains in place and workers classed as pubic servants are legally excluded from collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
.

Persecution of social and labour activists23-04-2014

Dr Carlos Figueroa, General Secretary of the Ecuadorian Medical Federation (a PSI affiliate), the Pachakutik Movement parliamentarian, Cléver Jiménez Cabrera and his advisor, Fernando Villavicencio Valencia, ex-leader of the oil workers’ trade union, were accused of libeling Ecuador’s President. The three had asked the public prosecutor to investigate the propriety of the President’s order for military intervention to ‘rescue’ him from the National Police Hospital in Quito during a political crisis in September 2010. The violent military action resulted in a number of deaths.

PSI affiliates in Ecuador have protested repeatedly against the Public Service Law, finally adopted on 6 October 2010, which drastically restricts freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
for public service workers.

Figuerora has been sentenced to six months in prison and both Jiménez and Villavicencio to 18 months in prison. The offices and homes of both Jiménez and Villavicencio were raided on 26 December 2013. They were accused of hacking the president’s electronic mail, whereas in fact they have been investigating cases of government corruption. After an unsuccessful appeal, all three could be imprisoned any day now.

Unfair dismissals at Dole13-12-2013

In December 2013, Dole unfairly dismissed around 25 workers at its María José 1 and 2 and Banaloli 1 and 2 plantations in the province of Los Ríos. They were all members of the Comité de Empresa de Trabajadores de la Compañía Megabananas, a trade union affiliated to the Federación Nacional de Trabajadores Agroindustriales, Campesinos e Indígenas Libres del Ecuador (FENACLE).

Anti-union discrimination31-01-2013

Public services at the Social Security Institute (IESS) and in several public hospitals were privatised, resulting in lower wages and worse working conditions for workers. At the Baca Ortiz Hospital in Quito, more than 200 unionised workers were sacked when services were outsourced to private companies.

Union members in banana plantations in Guayas and Los Rios provinces were subjected to anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

by employers. In September 2012, 159 workers were abruptly dismissed simply for forming a union.

Around 80 Aerolane/LAN Ecuador workers were sacked in January 2012; 49 of them were union members, two were on the board of the recently established Sindicato de Trabajadores de Aerolane (SITA).

Tactics to stop organising and collective bargaining31-12-2011

Employers used a whole range of tactics to stop workers from attempting to organise and bargain collectively, such as not declaring their employees to the social security administration. Undeclared workers are not officially recognised as permanent employees and do not therefore have the right to organise.

Government deploys anti-union practices in public sector31-12-2011

The government maintained a hostile approach to trade union rights, organisations and their leaders in the public sector, showing contempt for their demands, rejecting all calls for social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. and negotiations to set working conditions, and making mass dismissals.

Employers block unionisation30-11-2009

Employers continue to support the creation and operations of solidarista associations. The establishment of these workers’ associations is subject to the contribution of the employer they depend on, and are used in practice as a way of preventing the formation of trade unions or to weaken collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
.

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