Date: Sun, 4 Oct 98 12:52:55 CDT
/** reg.nicaragua: 42.0 **
Nicaraguan Banana Workers on Strike
Centr-Am News, issue XXVIII, week of September 20 - October 3, 1998
National Assembly deputy and president of Nicaraguan Banana Workers (Trabanic) said all attempts at negotiations have been exhausted. "This is a fair demand by the working class, since during the negotiation process the bosses offered only a 30-cent increase over the current wage," Garcia explained.
The workers are prepared for an indefinite strike, said Garcia, but it would only be on these eight plantations, as on others the salaries have been increased and the quality of the food has been improved.
Plantation owners say the strike is illegal because the workers already earn more than the minimum wage required by law. They are backed by Maria Isabel Arguello, President of the Nicaraguan Banana Producers Enterprise, S.A., (Probanic). "This is a strike without a legal basis," said Arguello. She also said police have been called in, since, on one of the plantations, a laborer who chose not to participate in the strike was hurt. On September 29 the Labor Inspector General declared the strike "illegal, illicit and inexistent." Labor Minister Wilfredo Navarro said the workers did not follow appropriate legal procedures, and that the labor leaders know what has to be done in order for the strike not to be declared illegal. According to Labor Inspector General Emilio Noguera, the workers had to return to their jobs on September 30 or they would face dismissal.
Plantation owners said striking workers must return to their labors or the owners would be forced to fire them and hire new workers. They claim the workers are already earning double the 300 cordoba ($30) [per month] minimum required by law. (La Tribuna, Managua, 9/29, 30/98)
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