STISSS Denouncement (English translation)
To our members, the organized labor movement, the working class, the Salvadoran people, and the international community, we DECLARE: that the arrival of the United National Collective of Workers (UNTRAC) to the Executive Board of the Union of Workers of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (STISSS) was thanks to an effort of unity in action and struggle and which has overcome many difficulties in order to stay.
During our ten years at the head of our organization, we have recovered the union for our members, cleaned up our finances and returned to the workers their rights and guarantees that had previously been sold by perverse and corrupt leadership.
• On Wednesday, September 4th at 4pm, we were notified by the Ministry of Labor that the existing Executive Board, which was elected democratically in December of 2018, would no longer represent the members of our union. The Ministry’s justification was that there was an extraordinary assembly that took place in April, in which a new board of directors was supposedly elected.
• Likewise, in said notification, the Ministry informed us that this extraordinary assembly had also elected new members to the Commission of Honor and Justice and to the Treasury Commission. This is a violation of our statutes, which state that the election of the Executive Board happens in December and the election of commissioners happens in June. But according to this notification, the commissioners were also elected in that same assembly in April.
• Likewise, said notification has a third element, which is that said Commission of Honor and Justice carried out hearings to expel all the members of the legitimate Executive Board that was legally elected in December of 2018. This is also a violation of our statutes, which state that such procedures can only be carried out by commissions together with the elected members of the current Executive Board . This is a violation of due process, of the right to legitimate defense and, in any case, of the statutes that are the law governing behavior within our union.
• Finally, the notification commits the aberration of substituting, in said act, one Executive Board for another, attributing to the Ministry of Labor the right to remove a legally-registered board of directors and to illegally and illegitimately impose a new board of directors.
In response, we CONDEMN:
1. The arbitrary act perpetrated by the Ministry of Labor, an act that constitutes a COUP D’ÉTAT against the democratically elected Executive Board.
2. The actions of the current director of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS), Herbert Rivera, who, in collusion with Mr. Ricardo Monge, former member and former president of the STISSS, who was removed for acts of corruption, has recognized the illegal and illegitimate Executive Board.
3. The aspiration of this government presided over by Nayib Bukele to return to the dark ages of labor relations, given that the labor movement represented an obstacle to privatization. In the past, every time that a public service was going to be privatized, the first thing that was done was debilitate the union, and that is what worries us, for what other intention could there be in intervening in our union?
For the above reasons, we DEMAND:
1. The cessation of abuse and illegality that are being committed against our organization, the violation of our statutes, of the Labor Code, of the Constitution and of International Labor Organizational conventions. We will not stay silent. We will fight to ensure that the laws governing our institutions are upheld, as is the rule of law in our country.
2. To the Minister of Labor, Rolando Castro, we demand that you overturn this illegal and illegitimate administrative order. You are a civil servant. You are not above the law and should do only do what the law says. You are not authorized to overthrow union leadership, only to appoint sinister figures who have family ties to those who have previously stolen the money of our members when they stole everything they could from the union.
3. To the International Labor Organization, in order to uphold its conventions, to intervene in this conflict, which violates article 2 of convention 87 concerning employer interference.
4. To the Human Rights Ombudsman and the rest of the institutions and organizations that monitor due process and the rule of law, to be alert to such a flagrant violation and to guarantee that fundamental liberties are not violated nor that autonomous and independent union action is criminalized.
5. To our affiliates and to the labor movement, we will not let accept this illegal action and we will fight alongside all of you. We look forward to your solidarity and to uniting against this illegal and illegitimate action being perpetrated against our union, which would be a nefarious precedent that could later be used to violate any other organization and which we cannot permit.
The STISSS is ready to struggle!
Not one step backwards!