No tan Bonita! Alamos works' committee and union leaders fired

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Workers at the giant 1200 hectare Los Alamos plantation have once again had their right to organise violated. Los Alamos is owned by the Noboa group and workers there have struggled for more than 12 years to improve conditions. Last month, just 4 days after being elected, 17 members of a works committee were fired. On 25 June the General Secretary and Treasurer of the SITBA union were also fired after raising the issue of an unexplained 1% deduction on the 1200 workers' pay cheques backdated to February.
The 17 sacked workers were elected by union members to form a Comité de Empresa, This is the body in Ecuadorian law that can engage in collective bargaining with the employer. Workers had hoped that, at last, the Comité could start negotiating improvements in wages and conditions without hindrance.

The first union at Los Alamos, set up as a result of a violently repressed strike in 2002, was effectively dismantled because of the multiple companies sub contracting labour to the plantation. This was a common anti union tactic at the time used to avoid one employer having a large enough workforce to become eligible to form a union.

Following the 2008 Decree outlawing the practice of sub-contracting on a massive scale, a new union – SITBA - was registered with several hundred members however leaders have regularly met with attempts to undermine the union. Over the years many workers have lost their jobs because of exercising their right to join a union. Efforts to secure regular social dialogue with the company have not led to any permanent mechanisms of communication between management and workers' representatives.

FENACLE, the rural workers' federation to which SITBA is affiliated, has appealed to government authorities to intervene following these latest sackings and is seeking immediate reinstatement of the 19 workers.

Source: FENACLE, Guayaquil.