February 10, 2012—Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union SITRABI, was killed on February 5. He was shot several times while carrying his young child in his arms.
||The murder of SITRABI member Miguel Angel González Ramírez is yet another fatal illustration of the violence and impunity to which trade unionists are constantly exposed in Guatemala, says the ITUC. Photo by ShutterSparks
"This is yet another deadly crime against banana workers and, as such, against the Guatemalan trade union movement as a whole," said Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). "President Otto Perez Molina must honor the responsibility he has to protect the workers targeted by constant violence."
The murder took place in the midst of a battle being waged by SITRABI following the refusal of Del Monte subsidiary BANDEGUA to pay the minimum wage recently set by the government. "Workers have a right to a decent wage and employers have a duty to respect the legislation and the International Labor Organization core conventions ratified by Guatemala," insisted the ITUC general secretary.
This is yet another fatal illustration of the violence and impunity to which trade unionists are constantly exposed in Guatemala. SITRABI has been one of the unions hardest hit in recent years. Four of the 10 trade unionists assassinated in 2011 were from SITRABI.
In a letter to the Guatemalan authorities, the ITUC joined with its Guatemalan affiliates and SITRABI in urging President Otto Pérez Molina, in his first month in office, to take every step necessary to ensure the safety of SITRABI members and leaders, that the trade unionist’s murder is fully investigated, that those responsible are brought to justice, and that the banana company negotiates a decent wage with its employees without delay.
Cross-posted from ITUC Online, February 10, 2012