ITF slams treatment of Honduran dockworkers

ITF, Labour Disputes, Ports & Terminals — By on December 19, 2013 at 9:07 PM

ITF Honduran 2012201319 December 2013 – The ITF protested against rights violations endured by ITF affiliates in Puerto Cortés in a letter to the President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo, on 4 December.

Workers have suffered numerous assaults against their rights in recent months. Back in February, Internal Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) won the concession to run operations at the port. The ITF-affiliated union at the port, Sindicator Gremial de Trabajadores de Muelle (SGTM), tried to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the new port operators. Since then, port workers have been subject to attacks and, in the case of SGTM general secretary Victor Crespo, death threats.

More recently, the state-owned port operator, Empresa Nacional Portuaria (ENP) has dismissed hundreds of workers without advance notice. Workers across the country have stopped port activities, in protest at this violation of workers’ rights. In response, the government deployed military forces to get workers and union leaders to end the work stoppage.

Armed forces continue to occupy the port, although negotiations between ITF affiliate Sindicatos de Trabajadores de la Empresa Nacional Portuaria (SITRAENP) and ENP have been promised; SGTM has a similar agreement with ICTSI.

The ITF is concerned that government intervention may end in massacre, and has called for solidarity actions worldwide to protect workers in case there is no appropriate bargaining resolution.

Antonio Rodríguez Fritz, ITF Americas Regional Secretary said: “The indifference of the president and the government to the allegations of labour law and human rights violations is unacceptable. The ITF has again called on the government not to attack defenceless workers – this is also totally unacceptable. We call on the Honduran government to respect workers, respect workers’ rights, and to bring an end to this continued conflict.”

 

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