3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

El Salvador

The ITUC affiliates in El Salvador are the Central Autónoma de Trabajadores Salvadoreños (CATS) and the Central de Trabajadores Democráticos de El Salvador (CTD).

In practice

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Anti-union dismissals in civil aviation sector 22-12-2015

On 22 December 2015, over 15 expert inspectors and technicians with over seven years experience in the Civil Aviation Authority were dismissed from their posts without justification and without respect for the legal procedures. The workers were members of the airport industry workers’ union Sindicato de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de la Industria Aeroportuaria de El Salvador Similares y Conexos (SITIAPES).

Anti-union dismissals in Apopa and San Martín07-03-2014

On 28 February 2014, the Central Autónoma de Trabajadores Salvadoreños (CATS) denounced a series of anti-union dismissals by the municipal authorities in Apopa and San Martín.

According to the CATS, the municipal government of Apopa violated national laws by unfairly dismissing trade union leaders or transferring them to other posts with poorer pay and conditions.

In San Martín, the municipal authority dismissed the General Secretary and the Education and Culture Secretary of the Sindicato de Empleados y Trabajadores de la Alcaldía Municipal de San Martín (SETRAMUSAM). It also transferred the First Disputes Secretary, the Treasurer, the Social Welfare and Assistance Secretary and the Minutes and Agreements Secretary, reducing their pay and conditions.

Anti-union onslaught by Lido30-06-2013

In June 2013, almost two years after having requested the start of negotiations on a new 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
agreement, the Sindicato de Empresa LIDO SA (SELSA) has had to deal with an anti-union onslaught by the company and the dismissive attitude of the labour authorities. The trade union denounced the fact that the company had created a climate of psychological harassment against staff, to make them leave the union, attacking and smearing the SELSA leaders as well as lowering salaries and even dismissing workers no longer protected by trade union immunity.

Trade union rights crushed31-12-2010

The 67.000 workers, mainly women, employed in El Salvador’s 15 export processing zones (EPZ export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. ) are faced with exploitation, mistreatment, verbal abuse, threats and sexual harassment. The textile maquila is characterised by its staunch anti-union policy, dismissing workers attempting to exercise their trade union rights, be it forming a union or joining an existing one. EPZ export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. employees are considered to work in slave-like conditions. Many public employees are also denied the right to organise and there are so many restrictions 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
that it is practically impossible to exercise it. Private sector workers are faced with heavy restrictions as well as excessive requirements and red tape when trying to form or affiliate with a union. Anti-union practices are extremely widespread and the public authorities do not take adequate measures to stop them. Furthermore, the law does not provide for the reinstatement of workers unfairly dismissed on account of their union membership or activities.

Anti-union practices persist30-11-2009
Making headway30-11-2009

According to various unions, positive changes have been seen in the way the Labour Ministry now operates, especially in the area of inspections related to labour rights violations. It has also been noted that, with the change in government attitude, it is easier to raise awareness and recruit workers, including subcontracted staff, and to establish a 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. with companies on issues such as job stability and security.

Trade union education centre established31-05-2009

During the first 100 days of the new government, which took office on 1 June, a trade union education centre was established within the Labour Ministry. It is hoped that labour rights and trade union freedoms will be included in the curriculums of secondary schools and higher education centres.

Trade union recognition30-11-2009

According to Jaime Rivera, head of the electrical sector union, Sindicato de Trabajadores del Sector Eléctrico (STSEL), and general secretary of the national public workers’ federation, Federación Sindical de Trabajadores de los Servicios Públicos de EL Salvador (FESTRASPES), one of the most significant advances seen with the new government is the speeding up of trade union recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. , in some cases. One example is the recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. of the union at the AVX-Kyocera factory, Sindicato de Trabajadores de Empresa AVX-Kyocera (SITRAVX), in the San Bartolo export processing zone export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. . This union had been waiting for recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. from the Labour Ministry for two years and the company took advantage of this time to dismiss and intimidate its founders.
Another emblematic case is the communications industry union, Sindicato de Trabajadores de las Comunicaciones (SITCOM), which has been waiting to be registered for six years and despite more recent hopes of seeing the process accelerated, it had still not been recognised by the end of 2009.
 

Anti-union policy in export processing zones 30-11-2009

Although the right 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
is recognised in law, it is not applied in export processing zones (EPZ export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. s), owing to the extreme 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

practised by employers, and the government’s abdication of its responsibility to defend the 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
rights of workers in EPZ export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. s. Any attempt at organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. is repressed. Workers attempting to form or join a union are threatened either with dismissal or the relocation of the company, which would leave everyone jobless.

Trade unionists’ right to work violated30-11-2009

Discriminatory “blacklists” are one of the tools most frequently used by employers against trade unions, especially in the export processing zones. By denying jobs to people with any links to trade unions, companies succeed in excluding virtually all trade unionists from these zones, thus making it harder to create new unions. There is total complicity between the various firms, which all send these lists to one another. In spite of repeated complaints, the state institutions are doing nothing to tackle this problem.

“Flexible” labour practices hinder right to organise30-11-2009
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