Fired Lido union leaders fight to be reinstated
On Tuesday, August 20, workers from the Lido company, an iconic maker of Salvadoran pan dulce (pastries), gathered outside the factory to protest the shameful firings of eleven union leaders. They were accompanied by allied hospital workers, construction workers, members of the public sector union federation FESTRASPES, and other affiliates of the Salvadoran Union Front (FSS). At the protest, leaders from the Lido Company Union (SELSA) and Union of Food Industry Workers (SITIPA) voiced their demands to be reinstated at their place of work. “Lido is a Salvadoran company, but it acts like any international corporation in violating workers’ rights,” said one supporter, “Friends, let’s boycott Lido pan dulce until the [union] leaders are reinstated!” The leaders were dismissed on July 22 for failing to report to work with uniforms embroidered with the company’s logo, even though workers were required to pay for the embroideries out of pocket. This expectation violates SELSA’s collective contract which requires Lido to cover uniform costs, and is the latest move in a lengthy history of workers’ rights violations by the company. Lido, a highly recognized brand among Salvadorans both in El Salvador and abroad, has not raised its employees’ wages since 2009, and has only hired subcontracted workers since 2001. The company also actively discourages union membership among its employees, utilizing intimidation tactics and monitoring workers outside of working hours.At the end of the demonstration, representatives from the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office and the Ministry of Labor entered the factory to speak with the administration, reportedly securing a meeting between management and the union at the Ministry of Labor. Currently, Lido is in negotiations to export its products directly to the United States under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The fired workers from SELSA and SITIPA are calling on the U.S. embassy to stop the import agreement until Lido’s treatment of its workers, and the factory’s sanitary conditions, improve.