Canadian labour involvement crucial to resolution, says CUPE partner
MANAGUA—For the 300 workers of the Nicamex textile factory in Nicaragua, it was a case of better late than never.
The workers, abandoned by their employer when the factory was shut down during the New Year’s holidays one year ago, spent most of 2007 in a legal battle to receive their severance pay. On December 22, the workers were finally paid what the company owed them.
Sandra Ramos, executive director of the Maria Elena Cuadra Movement of Working and Unemployed Women (MEC), which CUPE BC supports through legal and other funding, attributed the long legal battle to delays in the justice system in Nicaragua, as well as “political back-and-forthing and excessive partisan politics” in the National Justice Department.
“These factors make the solution even more difficult for cases like these which are so important to the lives of workers,” she said. “Eventually, we opened a new channel of negotiation outside the court system, and the legal representative of the company committed to pay the workers what was owed to them in retained earnings and benefits.”
Had the worker representatives continued their fight through the court system, Ramos added, the case would have stayed on the shelf until the labour judges considered it convenient to close the file.
Ramos said she wished to extend gratitude, both from MEC personnel and from the Nicamex workers, for all the support offered by Canadian labour organizations, particularly CUPE BC.
“The workers know that MEC lawyers are financed through your international solidarity, making it possible for them to accompany them in their legal cases,” she said.
“So we would like to share with you our happiness at your having successfully stood with your brothers and sisters, the workers of Nicaragua.”