All nine members of the executive committee of the SITETSA (Sindicato De Trabajadores Empresa Talsa) union were sacked in February this year by their employers, the agribusiness company TALSA in Peru. Two former union members were also dismissed.
TALSA denies the legal existence, not only of the union committee, but also of the FENTRAIR federation (Federacion Nacional De Trabajadores Del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego y Similares Del Peru) to which SITETSA belongs.
These dismissals occurred at the time when negotiations should have begun to renew the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the company and the union. Union members believe that the company is criminalising trade union activities in order to destroy their union and stop it defending workers’ rights.
SITETSA GENERAL SECRETARY SANTOS CELESTINA CARRANZA IS REQUESTING INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR THEIR DEMAND THAT TALSA REINSTATE THESE UNFAIRLY DISMISSED WORKERS. SHE IS ONE OF THOSE SACKED.
Urgent Action concluded
The mediation, facilitated by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) to address the ongoing dispute at TALS.A. has failed.
The trade unions SITETSA and FENTRAIR entered mediation in July 2016 in good faith, and the terms of mediation, as suggested by ETI, were agreed in mid-November 2016. TALSA entered mediation due to external pressure, but were not prepared to reinstate the 9 union executive members sacked, but would only consider compensation for economic hardship.
SITETSA and FENTRAIR reluctantly set aside their demand for reinstatement, and submitted a proposal for compensation, which accounted not only for loss of earnings, but legal costs, and the fact the workers were blacklisted. Following a very low offer of compensation, SITETSA and FENTRAIR withdrew from mediation in February 2017.
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) continued to try to mediate in this situation as asked for by the unions, but in September 2017 communicated to the unions that it had exhausted all possibilities. There are still legal cases in progress, and the unions are very worried that some of its leaders could be sent to jail given the strong influence the big agribusinesses has on the labour and justice authorities.
TALSA has entered into an individual compensation deal with one of the fired ex-TALSA workers, paying a sum higher than its low offer during the mediation process and near to what the unions had asked for. The union is suspicious that TALSA is trying to make this and more workers compliant to testify at court against the union leaders.