El Salvador Airline Servicer Fires 96 Workers for Forming a Union

by Tula Connell

Workers at AERODESPACHOS in El Salvador sought better job safety--and 96 were fired. Photo: CEAL

Workers at AERODESPACHOS in El Salvador sought better job safety–and 96 were fired. Photo: CEAL

The promotional website for AERODESPACHOS in El Salvador features workers loading airplanes, transporting baggage and servicing engines. Yet while the airline ground services company wants to showcase its workforce, it is unwilling to provide safe working conditions and decent wages, its employees say. And when the ground servicing crew sought to address safety and health issues by forming a union, AERODESPACHOS fired 96 employees—nearly its entire staff—to reduce the number of workers seeking to join a union and so legally disqualify their efforts.

Tell the El Salvadoran government to end its contract with AERODESPACHOS and work to reinstate the employees.

The Ministry of Labor has ordered their reinstatement and condemned what it has called “serious, anti-union acts.” The company has not complied.

Since May 2011, when the workers first formed a local union with SITIAPES (the Industrial Union of Aeronautical and Connected Industries Workers of El Salvador), the company has refused to negotiate a contract, petitioned the court to be exempt from unionization and ignored some government orders to address safety hazards.

AERODESPACHOS, which operates through a contract with a state enterprise (CEPA) to assist international flights from major airlines, also replaced some of the workers it hired through subcontractors.

According to the Center for Worker Education and Support (CEAL), a government inspection last year found inadequate and deplorable facilities, including dirty and deteriorating dormitories and break rooms, no fire extinguisher, no individual labor contracts and no posted work rules.

This is an excerpt from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center. Read the rest of El Salvador Airline Servicer Fires 96 Workers for Forming a Union.

Tell the El Salvadoran government to end its contract with AERODESPACHOS and work to reinstate the employees.

Tula Connell is communication specialist with the Solidarity Center. This post originally appeared on the AFL-CIO Now blog.

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