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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

IUF Support Helps Dockers Win in Costa Rica

Posted to the IUF website 08-Nov-2006

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IUF support for ITF-affiliated dockworkers in two Costa Rican ports has helped win a successful resolution in the dockers' conflict with the government. Workers began a work-to-rule on September 25 in the ports of Limon and Moin to back their demands for union consultation over restructuring plans and enforcement of the collective agreement. The conflict escalated when hundreds of police and security personnel were mobilized to handle cargo operations.

The IUF, jointly with the ITF, intervened directly with the transnational fruit companies which are heavy users of these port facilities, urging them to call on the authorities to end the militarization of the ports and negotiate with the union on the basis of full respect for trade union rights.

On October 26 the union reached an agreement with the government which meets all its key demands, including the paying of outstanding benefits and the establishment of a special commission to examine modernization of the ports and the situation of the dockworkers. Following the agreement the union announced an end to the industrial action organized in response to the police intervention.

The IUF and ITF also intervened with the fruit transnationals operating out of the Guatemalan port of Quetzal, where riot police were deployed when the dockworkers' union held a demonstration protesting port privatization and attacks on trade union rights. In the wake of the Costa Rican settlement, the Guatemalan government has recently indicated that it is prepared to negotiate.