With Juan Herrera
“The harassment is never ending”
Peruvian anti-union blueberries
The agro-industrial company TALSA is located in the north of Peru in the La Libertad region and specialises in blueberry and asparagus production, among other products. On the 8 March, it arbitrarily dismissed all of the SITETSA trade union's Executive Committee. La Rel spoke with Juan Herrera Huanca (pictured), president of FENTRAIR federation (Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego and Similares) which represents the workers from SITETSA (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Empresa Talsa) the trade union for TALSA workers.
“On the 8 March, under the pretext of suspected forged signatures, the company TALSA dismissed all of the Executive Committee”, reported Herrera.
The company, which mainly exports its produce to Europe, is owned by the former Minister of Agriculture, Rafael Quevedo Flores, and boasts a long history of anti-unionism.
On that occasion, he went on to dismiss Executive Committee members because the organisation denounced bad working conditions, especially with regards to health and safety in the workplace.
As soon as the workers were dismissed, the company began to form a new organisation, but this time with workers who share the company’s interests.
For Herrera, this kind of manoeuvring “is a clear attack on union freedom. The former minister believes that due to its political influences, he is going to bring us down, but no; we have already launched an international campaign condemning these union-busting practices in the company and we have criminalised the cases of all those who were dismissed”, he declared.
According to the director, the workers were illegally dismissed, therefore they were protected by union law from the moment they were informed of the management’s decision.
“Also”, he added, “these dismissals happened at a time when negotiations should have already begun, in order to renew the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the company and the union”.
The case of the dismissals is still in the hands of the Labour Courts of the Segunda Región, Trujillo, and both the federation and the union have launched an international campaign condemning this situation.
“Right now we would like to thank the Rel-UITA for all its work so far in the process of shedding light on the systematic abuses of TALSA”, concluded Herrera.
8 April 2016