Thursday, June 29, 2006

600 tuna processing jobs lost

There are two ways I could start this post:

El Salvador's refusal to ratify international conventions on labor rights cost 600 Salvadoran workers their jobs.

or

The European Union, using trade as leverage to try and protect Salvadoran workers, actually caused the firing of more that 600 workers in the country.

You decide. Here are the facts:


The Spanish company Grupo Calvo, terminated the jobs of 600 workers on Monday at its tuna processing plant in Punta Gorda, in the eastern part of El Salvador. The company says its decision was necessary because El Salvador is losing the ability to ship goods duty-free into the European Union under a program called SGP Plus. Tuna from Calvo's El Salvador operations will now be subject to a 22% tariff, which prices Calvo out of the market. (Calvo primarily markets its tuna in Europe and Latin America).

El Salvador is losing its duty free status in trade with the EU because it has failed to ratify the two key International Labor Organization conventions governing freedom of association. The conventions are ILO Convention 87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and ILO Convention 98 concerning the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining. The Salvadoran government asserts that it cannot sign the accords without amending the Salvadoran constitution. The international agreements are broad enough to include the right of government and other public sector employees to organize, but the Salvadoran constitution does not accord such rights.

Under an EU trade program with Central American countries called SGP Plus, those countries can export goods to the EU free of tariffs, under certain rules including ratification by those countries of 23 international labor conventions. El Salvador has ratified all but two. The EU had given El Salvador extensions of time to come into compliance, but now the Salvadoran government and Calvo have realized that time has run out and there will be no more extensions, according to stories in La Prensa Grafica and Diario El Mundo.

The Calvo tuna processing facility was opened in 2002 as the largest tuna plant in the Americas. It was featured in a 2005 Washington Post article as an example of a foreign company operating in El Salvador which hoped to expand when CAFTA opened US markets. Now the company plans to completely shut its operations.

Who cost the workers at Grupo Calvo their jobs?

Thanks to Steve for suggesting this topic.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is "Democracy", Arena and private enterprise style in El Salvador.As we can see the facts speak for themselves, the salvadoran government does not give a damn for the people.I think that at the end they will succesfully will blackmail the europeans. On the other hand, what the calvo company has done for the adequate explotation of the fish resources in the country?. The Spanish fish companies are known for predatory practices, They have decimated the cod in the Atlantic Ocean and tuna resources in West Africa.

El-Visitador said...

Delightful little topic.

Suddenly, foreign investment that depredates the environment with life-sweeping mile-long fishing nets became kosher. Only last year, the Left was on the warpath against the Spaniards and their exploitative methods against nature and workers!

Likewise, those "intellectuals" who complain of "hegemony" of "the center" vs. "the periphery" (economic imperialism of developed countries vs. wretched nations) should celebrate that this little country is showing an independent streak: El Salvador is refusing European economic imperialism that seeks to institute its laws on our sovereign nation.

I am all out for foreign investment and signing free trade pacts, so you could make a guess as to where I stand on this.

But the Left's irresponsibility and hipocrisy you see on display here is breathtaking.

Steve said...

El-Visitador said: "El Salvador is refusing European economic imperialism that seeks to institute its laws on our sovereign nation.

I am all out for foreign investment and signing free trade pacts, so you could make a guess as to where I stand on this."
---------------
Even CAFTA, the free-trade pact with the U.S., has strings attached. The fact of the matter is El Salvador wants free trade, but only unilaterally, that is, only the other side opens ITS' doors wide. I too believe in free trade and think the country would be immensely better off if it stopped thinking it can rake in more cash by import duties than by stimulating general, overall economic activity by opening ITS' doors "wide" - (the same goes for if they think their optimal gameplan is to protect domestic manufacturers). The optimization in the latter instance is the road to perdition - for both rich and poor, through a return to Populist governance. http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060501faessay85302/jorge-g-castaneda/latin-america-s-left-turn.html

inner self... said...

Just another example of what is wrong with el salvador, its poor people and its useless government.
now we'll see a tidal wave of crime sweep the already barbaric behavior of the common in el salvador. And to all these blog readers, as "intellectuals" because your insight and intellect is apparently good; what are we doing about all this BS that's spilling out of el salvador. I think we constitute a minority of the exiled enlightened people, because yes, the average salvadoran immigrant doesn't even speak basic english, much less have a lucrative college education and employment background. so my point is, what happened to the leadership? we need leaders with balls to step up big time, put everything on the line, but let's fight a Martin Luther King style war against the oppression of our fellow salvadorans. even if we have partly salvadoran ancestry and don't even visit el salvador, in the end we need to organize a means to stop all the nonsense that cripples el salvador from allowing the common to be simple human beings, not sub human organic bodies. A'vroue...

Anonymous said...

Lo siento por los 600 trabajadores (as) que de momento estan sin empleo pero quizas sea una manera de conseguir lo que en 15 años de paz no a sido posible el que se reconosca por derecho el derecho a la libre sindicacion y se regulen los diversos sectores economicos en convenios colectivos laborales como en E.U. O España. Y desde otro punto de vista vemos como el colonialismo/ globalizacion / influye y se consolida el estilo The Corporations

Anonymous said...

imaginate con lo que ha sucedido hoy, (ayer), pues nada mas para que digan.. ven porque no firmamos los acuerdos de la OIT? los sindicatos son peligrossos.. jaja

Ya sabemos lo que traman estas gentes..

Anonymous said...

Esto demuestra la mierda que es la burocracia de este pueblo. Tenian la oportunidad de hacer un TLC con la Union Europea, pero la regamso? OOps! Que estupido!