Factory workers protesting peacefully are violently attacked and detained by riot police in Nicaragua

7 July, 2016

Last week, Nicaraguan workers suffered the most recent attack on their rights during the storming by riot police of the Korean-owned Sae A Tecnotex SA, a factory situated in the free-trade zone of Tipitapa in Nicaragua.

Workers in the factory had been peacefully campaigning for improved working conditions, such as access to drinking water, more realistic production targets and the reinstatement of two unionised workers, but these demands were met with intimidation and violence by riot police on 27 June called in by the management. As a result of this brutality, many workers were injured and 11 were put behind bars as a ‘preventive measure’. Some of those detained were not even workers of Sae A Tecnotex SA but people who happened to be on the premises at the time – including a pregnant worker and a worker with heart problems, from other companies. The workers were kept in preventive imprisonment for 5 days and only released on 2 July.

The legal team of the Movement of Employed and Unemployed Women María Elena Cuadra (MEC), together with workers, families and other trade unionists, have been supporting the victims of this assault in order to guarantee their release. Despite the unreasonable violence directed at workers by the riot police, as video footage vividly shows, and the fact that the company has finally decided to drop charges, the Nicaraguan government has not dropped charges against the workers, and they now face a court hearing on Friday 8 July allegedly for aggression to these same riot policemen.

According to Sandra Ramos, director of MEC, this is possibly the worst case she has ever come across – never before have riot police been called to raid workers on the factory floor.

The Central America Women’s Network support the position of MEC, the workers and their families, as they call the Nicaraguan authorities and the management of Sae A Tecnotex SA to:

  • Drop  the charges against workers detained on 27 June;
  • Address their demands for clean drinking water, as workers raised the alarm that the available water is polluted;
  • Reduce the production targets to a realistic level, thus addressing the current long working hours resulting from unrealistic target demands;
  • Uphold rights of unions to act on workers behalf;
  • Hold accountable those who demanded the intervention of the riot police in a pacific protest.

 

Sae A Technotex SA is sub-contracted by Walmart, Kohl and Target; we therefore extend the aforementioned demands to these brands.

 

More information in other media

Articles

Yohany López, “Trece detenidos tras violencia en zona franca”, La Prensa, 27 Jun 2016 http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/06/27/economia/2059250-antimotines-agreden-a-agresiones-en-zona-franca

“Juicios a obreros de zona franca”, La Prensa, 29 Jun 2016: http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/06/29/economia/2060600-juicio-a-obreros-de-zona-franca

Yohany López, La Prensa, 29 Jun 2016: http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/06/29/economia/2060190-alcanzan-acuerdos-tras-conflicto

Wilih Narváez, “Liberan a once trabajadores”, Hoy, 2 Jul 2016: http://www.hoy.com.ni/2016/07/02/liberan-a-once-trabajadores/

Yohany López, “Trabajadores protestan por mejores condiciones laborales”, Hoy, 28 Jun 2016: http://www.hoy.com.ni/2016/06/28/trabajadores-protestan-por-mejores-condiciones-laborales/

Videos

La Prensa, 29 Jun 2016, “Tensión nuevamente en zona franca”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezrFCdMWgLM

Confidencial, 1 Jul 2016, “Represión contra obreros en zona franca de Tipitapa: “Un mal precedente”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-UYy38gHKc

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Video by employees of the anti-riot police in the factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvSct3H_GLE

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