Hands off STISSS
The right-wing administration of Presdient Nayib Bukele is moving quickly to dismantle the public sector in El Salvador – and the unions that defend it.
On September 4, the new Minister of Labor notified the Salvadoran Social Security Institute Workers’ Union (STISSS) that the government would no longer recognize their Executive Board, which was democratically elected in December 2018.
In a coup d’état againt the left leadership of the STISSS, the Minister of Labor unilaterally and illegally transferred the union credentials to an un-elected minority group within the union, a move that not only violates the union's statues and Salvadoran labor law but also International Labor Organization conventions.
The STISSS is one of the largest and oldest unions in El Salvador. But more importantly, the STISSS has been a militant leader of the struggle against right-wing attempts to privatize health care. As the union stated: “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?”
On September 22, around midnight, the electricity was mysteriously cut to the union’s headquarters shortly before an armed and masked group arrived to threaten union members who were holding watch. On September 23, the Executive Board was forcibly removed from their union headquarters and police prevented them from reentering. The Salvadoran Institute of Social Security is now illegally barring the union from entering their own building.
The STISSS is asking U.S. and international unions to send letters to Minister of Labor and other government officials (the President, Vice-President, Director of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute and Human Rights Ombudsman's Office), expressing condemnation.
See sample letter here in Spanish and English with instructions on how to send. Please email [email protected] for more information or to let us know if you can send a letter.
¡Que viva la solidaridad internacional!
Long live international solidarity!