Threatened Honduran union leader moved to safe country

ITF — By on October 2, 2013 at 12:18 AM
The ITF HQ's in London

The ITF HQ’s in London

1 October 2013 – The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today confirmed that Honduran Victor Crespo has been moved out of Honduras to assure his safety, and that it has secured promises of action from the country’s Minister of Labour.

On 14 September three armed attackers tried to force entry to the home in Puerto Cortés of Victor Crespo, general secretary of the Sindicato Gremial de Trabajadores del Muelle (SGTM). They left, shouting death threats, when they became aware of how many potential witnesses they’d woken up nearby. The attack followed two months of anonymous death threats telling Crespo to stop seeking a collective agreement at the town’s port. The armed attackers yelled that he should “stop making noise organising stevedores”.

The ITF moved quickly to ensure Crespo’s safety, and alerted the Honduran police, president, the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the port’s incoming concessionary operator. Last week ITF Americas regional secretary Antonio Fritz personally updated the union on the international work that has been done to defend Crespo.

Fritz has also met with Honduras’ Minister of Labour and Social Security Jorge Bográn Perdomo, who agreed completely with the need for police protection for Crespo to allow him to carry on his trade union duties, and agreed to personally recommend this to the Honduran Attorney General.

Antonio Fritz also raised the matter of the Labour Ministry’s lack of response since January to the SGTM’s lawful requests for a collective bargaining agreement at the port, as well as labour relations there and the job security of stevedores once ICTSI – which won the concession to operate the port in February – begins operations at Puerto Cortés. The Minister asked for, and is now studying, a paper from the ITF and STGM detailing these important matters.

Antonio Fritz commented: “The minister’s assurances are deeply valuable and represent the first real ray of light into this dark and dangerous affair. We commend his willingness to meet and to effect real change.”

In cooperation with the ITF, LabourStart has launched an online campaign to assist Victor Crespo and his union:www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1948

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