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Sitrapeten Members Assaulted And Dislodged

Sitrapeten Members Assaulted And Dislodged

Brussels, 18 December 2009 (ITUC OnLine): On 10 December, 250 heavily armed state security force officers dislodged 25 members of SITRAPETEN, along with MSICG political council members and a number of journalists, to free the area to set up the stage for a concert to be held as part of "La Academia" television series produced by the Mexican television station TV Azteca.

The security officers surged against the trade unionists, beating them with truncheons and sprayed a strong irritant directly onto their faces. The product blinded them for a time and continued to affect their skin for over twenty four hours. Throughout the incident, officers from the National Civil Police filmed the workers, together with those of other nationalities who had joined with them in solidarity.

The security forces then went on to destroy the place they had been living in for over a year. The workers have been on the street since their employer, Agua Pura Salvavidas, unfairly dismissed them when they formed a union. Despite a court ruling in their favour, ordering the workers' immediate reinstatement and recognition of the trade union, their situation remains unchanged. The Castillo Hnos company owners have ignored the rulings, spurred by the indifference shown by the Guatemalan authorities, particularly the Labour Ministry and the General Labour Inspectorate.

In a letter to President Colom, http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/Desalojo_de_cos-_de_SITRAPETEN_diciembre pdf the ITUC called on the Guatemalan government to ensure respect for the lives and physical integrity of these workers as well as to guarantee their constitutional right to peaceful protest. It also called on "La Academia" programme chiefs and Mexican television station TV Azteca not to go ahead with the concert.

"It is essential that the repeated and insistent violation of trade union rights be brought to an end and that the core ILO Conventions be fully respected, especially Conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association, collective bargaining and workers' right to form and join the trade union of their choice," underlined ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder.

ENDS

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