Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Support Salvadoran Garment Workers

Support Hermosa Maquila Workers


Hermosa Maquila Workers Put Former Boss in the Hotseat

Women workers from the now-closed “Hermosa Manufacturing” maquila factory announced that Hermosa owner, Joaquin Salvador Montalvo, will be the subject of a court hearing set for September 1 in the city of Apopa . The women are suing their former boss for failure to pass on their social security and pension deductions to the government agencies responsible for those accounts. Montalvo now operates a maquiladora known as MB Knitting Mills in Guazapa, 20 miles from San Salvador.

The women’s pay stubs show deductions for Social Security and pension payments, but Montalvo failed to pass those deductions to the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS) and pension fund. Hermosa workers report that many employees got a rude awakening when they visited public hospitals and were told that they could not be served because they had not paid into the system. Workers say that Social Security authorities and Montalvo worked out a partial payment deal, whereby some women received care at government facilities, while others were arbitrarily shut out. Many pregnant women were denied pre-natal care as a result of the negligent payments.

Now Montalvo is in the hot seat. It’s not the first time: workers previously occupied his factory for months when Montalvo closed Hermosa and attempted to move equipment to the MB Mills site 20 miles away. Former Hermosa workers have opened lawsuits against their former boss for back wages, pension money, and social security payments. The September 1 hearing will define if there is enough evidence to move to trial in the pension case. The other cases are pending.


Hermosa workers are asking that interested persons and unions send the following letter to El Salvadoran President Tony Saca, to bring their former boss to justice for his negligent actions.

fax: +503 2243 7857 / 9930

copy to:

Beatrice Alamani de Carrillo
Human Rights Ombudswoman
fax: + 503 2222 0655

Felix Garried Safie
Attorney General of the Republic
fax: + 503 2249 - 8613

Mr. Elias Antonio Saca
President of the Republic of El Salvador

Dear Mr. Saca:

Through this letter, we manifest our extreme concern for stalled justice in the case of the workers of the Hermosa Manufacturing factory.

It has come to our attention that both the labor and penal processes have so far lasted more than a year. Lengthy judicial processes in which peoples' subsistence is at stake should be prioritized and resolved immediately. We are also aware that the Attorney General's Office has not informed workers of the hearing dates to present key witnesses in cases brought by workers. This has left many of these cases impugn. Likewise, we are aware that in the penal process against Mr. Montalvo Machado there has been an assessment of the factory machinery based on Mr. Montalvo's own evaluation. We demand that plaintiffs also be able to present a qualified assessment of the value of that machinery, thus holding with the principle of procedural equality.

In light of the above, we demand of you the appropriate attention in this case and the prompt resolution of the persistent problems that workers experience. We denounce the stalling of justice and the overt bias demonstrated by government institutions in favor of maquila owners in cases brought by workers.

We condemn these practices that threaten our nation's democratic development and challenge the integrity of the State, which should promote first and foremost the development of the individual worker within a just legal framework.



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