The ITF has acted to assure the safety of a Honduran trade union leader following an attack at his home and a series of threats on his life. A global campaign has been launched in a bid to secure protection for Victor Crespo, general secretary of the Sindicato Gremial de Trabajadores del Muelle (SGTM).
Armed assailants attempted to break down the door of Crespo's house on 14 September, and only left when they were disturbed by neighours.
The incident follows several anonymous death threats relating to Crespo's leadership of SGTM members in requesting a collective bargaining agreement with the stevedoring companies at the port of Puerto Cortés.
ICTSI (International Container Terminal Services, Inc) won a concession to operate the port in February. Crespo is now being kept in a safe place and the Honduran police, president, the ILO (International Labour Organization) and ICTSI have all been contacted and alerted. With the support of LabourStart the ITF and SGTM have begun an e-campaign calling on the president to provide police protection for Crespo and give assurances about workers being able to exercise their right to collective bargaining.
ITF Americas regional secretary Antonio Fritz commented: “This was a shameful and cowardly attack that we believe is linked to the union’s legitimate and lawful request for a collective bargaining contract which, despite being repeatedly refused by the employers, it is certain to secure. We have no doubt that Victor is in danger of his life, and that the members of his union are also at risk. We are doing everything possible to defend him and them, but it is also time for the Honduran government and authorities to fulfil their obligations too.”