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ITF docks forum backs Latin American unions
20 October 2006
Dock union leaders meeting in London this week vowed to provide solidarity to colleagues in Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Gathered for a meeting of the ITF Dockers’ Section Committee, the trade union chiefs - from Australia, Belgium, Ghana, Great Britain, Latvia, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States - resolved to “demonstrate solidarity with the Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Empresa Portuaria – Quetzal (STEPQ) in Guatemala, and the Union Sindicato de Trabajadores de JAPDEVA (SINTRAJAP) in Costa Rica and to support them in their struggle for fundamental human and trade union rights”.
In Costa Rica, only days after the ITF-affiliated union started a work-to-rule on 25 September, the authorities sent 300 police and security personnel into Puerto Limon and Moin to take over cargo handling from union members. Workers were attacked and intimidated. The ITF is supporting the union and has written to the President of Costa Rica demanding his intervention to resolve the situation and to restore these workers’ basic rights.
In Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, armed riot police drove ITF-affiliated port workers out of their jobs and several workers were dismissed for taking “illegal” strike action on the morning of 9th October. The ITF is supporting the union and has sent protest messages to the President. The attack came after the Puerto Quetzal Dockers’ Union announced industrial action on September 11th.
Frank Leys, Secretary of the ITF’s Dockers’ Section, commented: “Here we have an important demonstration of labour unity. Some of the world’s most important dock unions have determined that their Latin American colleagues will not be alone in their fight against these neoliberal strategies.”
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