During a recent strike of the workers at the LIDO company in El Salvador, the leader of the SELSA union was arrested on trumped up charges and is presently being held at the San Bartolo police cells. Please read this report send letters of protest.
On Wednesday June 8, at about 3pm while workers at the LIDO bakery were peacefully exercising their right to strike at the factory in Boulevard del Ejercito, (Soyopango, El Salvador) when the company management under Heriberto Pacas made a dirty move, presenting a false charge to the police against the Secretary General of SELSA, Atilio Jaimes Pérez for allegedly making death threats. On this basis the union leader was tricked into going outside the factory gates where he was supposed to have a meeting with the employers. The National Civil Police then immediately arrested him. Late at night, the company lawyer, Lic. Sergio Mendez (an early morning news presenter on Channel 33), revealed the blackmail which they were planning, by stating that the company would go ahead with legal proceedings if the workers came out on strike on the day.
The union leader is being held in the cells of the National Civil Police of San Bartolo, as a common prisoner along with dozens of people deprived of freedom in overcrowded and most unsanitary conditions, in a country where national and international agencies have condemned the inhuman conditions of the police cells and prisons.
Send emails to the Presidential Palace [Casa Presidencial] with a copy to the Salvadoran Minister of Labour [Ministro de Trabajo Salvadoreño,], demanding they issue immediate orders to the National Civil Police for the union leader Atilio Jaimes Pérez, General Secretary of SELSA, and of the executive of FESTSSABHRA and CSTS, to be released immediately. Also for the Ministry of Labour to act decisively to mediate in this conflict that is beginning to get out of hand at an alarming rate, even though the workers have used all the legal procedures for exercising their right to strike.
Model letter in English:
President Mauricio Funes Cartagena:
Our organization would like to express its outrage at the arrest of Atilio Jaimes Pérez, General Secretary of SELSA and member of the executive of FESTSSABHRA and CSTS on Wednesday at 3pm on the basis of a false report of the LIDO SA company, and we demand his immediate release. At the same time we deplore the fact that the government instead of mediating in this conflict through the Ministry of Labour through, has proceeded through the National Civil Police to arrest the leader of the SELSA union with the clear and avowed intention of the company management under Heriberto Pacas to put an end to the strike by raising false charges. Currently, the union leader is detained at the San Bartolo PNC police station.
This is serious action, considering that SELSA has respected all legal requirements throughout the current strike, as few unions have done since the introduction of the Labour Code in 1962. Thus the arrest of this trade union leader is to be considered as an attack on the Rule of Law. This is an embarrassing situation for the Salvadorian government, especially as this is taking place just as the Annual Conference of the International Labour Organization is gathering in Geneva, Switzerland, where Salvadoran government delegates are participating.
Please keep us informed as to the actions that your government is taking in this serious case.
Or you can use the original Spanish text:
Señor Presidente Mauricio Funes Cartagena:
Nuestra organización quiere manifestarle nuestra indignación por la captura, al tiempo que exigimos la LIBERACIÓN INMEDIATA de Atilio Jaimes Pérez, Secretario General de SELSA Directivo de FESTSSABHRA y de CSTS el día de ayer a las 3 de la tarde por una denuncia falsa de la empresa LIDO S.A. Al tiempo que deploramos que envés de mediar en este conflicto a través del Ministerio de Trabajo, el gobierno ha procedido mediante la Policía Nacional Civil a capturar al máximo dirigente del sindicato SELSA con la clara y confesa intención por parte de la empresa intento de canjear la finalización de la HUELGA por el levantamiento de la denuncia realizada por el gerente de LIDO, Heriberto Pacas. En la actualidad el dirigente sindical se encuentra retenido en la PNC de San Bartolo.
Esta es una acción grave en tanto que SELSA ha recorrido todo el procedimiento legal para realizar la HUELGA actual, como pocos sindicatos han hecho desde la vigencia del Código de Trabajo en 1962, por lo que la captura del dirigente sindical se vuelve un ataque al Estado de Derecho, este hecho es vergonzoso para el Gobierno Salvadoreño, sobre todo en el precios momento que se desarrolla la Conferencia Anual de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, en Ginebra Suiza, donde delegados del Gobierno Salvadoreño participan.
Le rogamos nos mantenga informados/as de las acciones que su gobierno tome a bien en este grave caso.