Ten union leaders, including eight women, who were employed by the agricultural export plantation Euro S.A. in Ica, Peru, were dismissed without notice less than three weeks after forming a union. The Peruvian labor federation CGTP is mounting a write-in campaign to reinstate the workers.
Euro S.A. blamed its decision not to renew the workers’ contracts on a lack of production orders, but the workers, many with more than 10 years on the job, say they were dismissed in retaliation. Euro S.A. had already refused to recognize the union, ignoring two letters from union leaders informing the company of the decision to organize. Euro S.A. also chose not to renew the workers’ contracts after they declined a request to resign from the union. The remainder of the company’s 200-plus employees are still at work.
When the workers complained to the regional labor authority, it was discovered that their contracts on file had expired six months ago, a finding that casts doubt on the contracts’ authenticity.
Euro S.A. is owned by Agricola Athos, which operates in five different regions in Peru and supplies produce to countries in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Workers in Peru’s booming agricultural export sector are continually denied their right to freedom of association through illegal, anti-union practices. The agricultural export industry employs some 300,000 people, more than 70 percent of them women. A special law governing this sector enables emplyers to offer lower wages and fewer benefits and protections than those provided under traditional Peruvian labor law. Despite the agricultural export economy’s exponential growth since the law was passed, its restrictions remain in place, and workers still literally have nothing to show for the fruits of their labor.
The Federation of Agroindustrial Workers of Ica, a CGTP affiliate and regional labor federation for agricultural workers, is fighting to ensure that the right to organize is respected by companies that supply products consumed across the globe. CGTP, a Solidarity Center partner, will continue to use membership education and public advocacy to educate Peruvian congressional representatives on the harsh reality that these workers face every day. Please sign the petition to reinstate the workers and recognize their union.