El Salvador - Labour Ministry overthrows legitimate board of the STISSS

In December 2018, the Sindicato de Trabajadores del Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social (STISSS) duly elected its executive board during its congress. In April 2019, a small group of dissident members, far fewer than the 25 per cent required to call an extraordinary assembly, nonetheless did so. This illegitimate extraordinary assembly dissolved the executive board and chose a new executive board, all in violation of the union’s statutes and due process.

The Labor Ministry accepted the registration of this new, illegal executive board and notified the legitimate leaders on 4 September 2019. In response, STISSS issued a denunciation, stating that the registration represents a violation of statutes and due process.

The illegal removal of the legitimately elected leadership (composed of Armida Estela Franco, José Roberto Méndez, Kelvin René Rojas, Francisco Andrés Franco, José Abel Cerna, Jenny Elizabeth Barrientos, Eduardo Calles Recibos, Nelly del Carmen Ponce and Jaime Leonel Martinez) represents a usurpation of STISSS by unrepresentative and unduly elected individuals in violation of its bylaws. The recognition of this illegitimate executive board by the Labour Ministry is an affront to freedom of association, union democracy, and respect for the rule of law.

As a result of the Labour Ministry decision, this minority group has control over the union’s finances and members’ dues, which should have been put under custodianship until the dispute between the two executive boards is resolved. Union activists report their fear that there is a concerted effort to legitimise the new leadership on behalf of the Salvadoran government.

These acts violate fundamental labour norms, the Salvadoran labour code, and El Salvador’s obligations under International Labour Organization conventions.

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