El Salvador’s Labor Ministry Files 800 Claims against Companies for Violations of Workers’ Rights

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Last week, as the leftist Sánchez Cerén administration celebrated 100 days in office, the Ministry of Labor filed 793 claims with the Attorney General’s Office against companies for labor violations.

The fines requested, which will contribute to the national budget, total $583,000, and are based on inspections made by Ministry of Labor personnel. The majority of the infractions were found in the security, manufacturing, service and trade industries, with the most common violations being failure to pay salaries and overtime or respect vacations, or refusing to allow the Ministry of Labor Inspectors to enter the premises. According to Ministry Inspector General Jorge Bolaños, the goal for the country, beyond the collection of the fines, is to advance in building a culture of compliance with labor rights and to avoid impunity.

Under the previous administration of President Mauricio Funes (2009-2014), the country’s first-ever progressive government, the Labor Ministry began a significant transformation from a pro-management institution hostile to workers’ claims towards an enforcer of labor standards. From 2005-2008, under the right-wing administration of Tony Saca, the Ministry carried out an average 7,194 inspections annually; from 2009-2013, that average jumped to 27,348 workplace inspections per year.

When President Sánchez Cerén assumed office in June, he appointed longtime feminist advocate Sandra Guevara to continue to advance Salvadoran workers’ rights as Minister of Labor. Click here for a full Spanish-language report of the Ministry’s work over the first 100 days under Guevara’s leadership.

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