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.
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.