El Salvador: Working Class Unionism Under Attack

In El Salvador, as in many countries of the world, attacks on the working class are increasing in the context of the COVID19 pandemic . We are seeing how the response of the working masses is increasingly decisive, and the rebellion is growing, the natural bodies called upon to fight at this juncture are the trade unions, but this is not always the case, in the majority of cases they are bureaucratized bodies, alongside the bosses and the current governments.
By: Plataforma de la Clase Trabajadora (Working Class Platform)
September 14, 2020
Translation: Blas ( Corriente Obrera LIT-CI U.S.)
In El Salvador there is a small combative, independent and classist sector that has been strengthening in the heat of the struggles and leads this determined response for the conquests of the working class, these struggles are mainly for low wages, loss of basic rights, precarious working conditions, price increase of basic needs, among other economic demands, but to the extent that the working class begins to discover that the origin of all evil is capitalist exploitation, the struggle for power, for the state, for the economy, from below, from the class, in short for a new and more just society led by the working class, the possibility of speaking of socialism opens up.
Attacks on the trade union movement
In recent days in El Salvador there have been incidents that, if we see them one by one, we could fall into the trap of not understanding them as part of the same socio-political phenomenon: the armed attack on a protest against the privatization of the solid waste collection service in Soyapango, the criminalization of social protest by the Judicial Branch, the determined struggle of female workers of the Florenzi factory, the struggle of workers against the public-private partnership at the international airport, the attempts to fire the leadership of the Fosalud SITRASALUD workers’ union, among other actions, all these acts are only an expression of an attempt by the bourgeoisie and the state to dismantle, in a preventive way, the combativeness of the working masses, in view of the imminent struggles that are coming after the pandemic, as we are beginning to see signs of the adjustment that the government will implement based on the agreements with the International Monetary Fund next year.
Another turn of the screw on the measures imposed by the IMF
The past government implemented fiscal adjustment measures that implied cutting subsidies to the population, such as “localizing” gas, electric energy and drinking water, as well as cutting back on health, security and education budgets, while eliminating benefits to public workers, However, a series of measures were still pending that implied the elimination of collective bargaining agreements through the approval of the Public Service Law and a series of reforms to the Labor Code, the Fiscal Responsibility and the tax increase law.
Corruption in the current government in the midst of the pandemic, cronyism and lack of transparency is a constant, ironically the current government positioned itself in its electoral campaign, as a government that would end these practices and of an approaching new era of change, however everything has been the opposite, added to this we see an enormous increase in public debt, which always obliges us to make commitments to international financial organizations like the IMF, IDB, World Bank…
Health sector workers in struggle in the midst of the Pandemic
The health sector unionism in the middle of the pandemic has been one of the most affected by these acts of corruption, receiving for example inadequate protective equipment as a result of unqualified overpurchases, and according to journalistic investigations bought from relatives of the Minister of Health and other government officials. It has also been one of the most beaten and persecuted in the current government, since it has taken a stand in defense of its rights and the lack of management capacity of the authorities of the pandemic, such as the lack of supplies and personal protective equipment to care for patients and prevent contagion. This has undoubtedly generated discomfort in the current government and has led to persecution of union leaders who have pointed out these irregularities, opening up sanctioning and dismissal processes.
The new government is slowly showing its true face towards the union sector, it is increasingly common to show disrespect, no tolerance for criticism, much less to point out when things are not done well and in favor of the working class, the Bukele government is being characterized along with its ministers, especially in the health sector as a government of disrespect for the organized working class and reluctant to listen and fulfill their lawful demands.
All the signs point to dark times ahead for the organized working class, however times of rebellion are also coming; it is time to stand up and fight against these attacks. We call for the unity of the entire class-based union movement to close ranks and form a single front against the attacks of the Bukele government and its lackeys.
To more repression, more struggle!
Whoever governs, rights must be defended!
In the face of structural adjustment, workers’ and popular struggle! 
San Salvador, September 13, 2020

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