Yesterday, Sunday, comrade Atilio Jaimes Pérez, General Secretary of SELSA, was released. [See our previous appeal]. However, the charges against him have not been dropped.
This is a small success of the workers’ struggle and SELSA’s international campaign. We must remain alert, however, because the strike continues and charges against the comrade have not been dropped and there is still the risk of further repressive measures being adopted. We provide here a brief report from comrade Alfredo (another member of the SELSA leadership) on the latest developments in their struggle. Harassment continues, but so does the fighting spirit of the workers. We may have to get another round of protest to get the charges against Atilio dropped. We will keep you posted.
Five-day strike at LIDO bakery
By Alfredo, member of SELSA executive
Greetings comrades and thank you for the support and solidarity.
This Sunday [12 June] is our fifth day of strike action and it is important to know how things are evolving. Despite it being a Sunday the presence of workers is impressive. They are organising various activities to keep things running well. It is important to recognize the big effort made by the female workers, who although they have various obligations at home, are spending day and night at the factory and, without being asked to, they have formed a supply network, with all of them bringing at their own expense food to share out, including beans, fried rice, eggs, sugar, coffee, etc.
There are moments in which we have had to redouble our efforts. For example, there was a moment when information leaked out that access to the plant would be closed on Saturday at noon, which would result in lack of access to toilets or drinking water, so essential for personal hygiene and for washing food. As soon as we heard of these rumours, a group of workers set up 24-hour a day guard duty to guarantee access to the plant and to stop security personnel of the company carrying out such manoeuvres.
Psychological warfare is also being used to instil fear among the workers. Rumour has it that on Monday [June 13] the Order Maintenance Unit (UMO or riot police), would be used to evict the strikers, so the workers were called to a meeting where it was explained to them that as a union we have respected all legal requirements and that there would be no legal reason for the intervention of the riot police, but for the peace of mind of all the workers as a precaution we would be on the lookout.
In the case of the arrest of comrade Atiliio Guadalupe Jaimes, General Secretary of SELSA, the situation is somewhat complicated, because initially we were expecting him to be released on Friday, and then there was some speculation that he would be released on Saturday. The latest news we had was that this would be delayed until Monday [today] at 2pm at the Soyapango Legal Center [Centro Judicial de Soyapango]. [Note: Since this was written he has been released].
We know that the company is prepared to do everything in its power against comrade Atilio Jaimes.