Faustino Martínez Union responds to unfounded accusations on working conditions and CKD at Ingenio San Antonio, Chichigalpa

Dear Sirs,

I’m Francisco Molina, General Secretary of “Faustino Martínez” Trade Union at Ingenio San Antonio. Born in 1945 with the name of “Union of Workers”, we are affiliated to the Confederation of Trade Union Unification, a trade organization member of the Confederation Trade Union of the Americas (CSA), the International Trade Union Confederation (CSI), from which we assume their principles and base our actions on the resolutions of their respective conferences.

We, all the workers affiliated to this trade union, raise our voice to make known that this company has been and is respectful of all labor laws existing in Nicaragua. Therefore we are against those who have been commissioned to manipulate and denigrate the sugar production processes and Flor de Caña Rum.

It is offensive to read in the document that you published that cane cutters work 14 hours per day, that they don’t receive work uniforms, shadow, breaks, etc.

For our part we can guarantee that our unions are always monitoring that the workday has a 6 hours’ duration, that in each plantation the cutter receives shade and water in excellent conditions along with hydrating substances, work uniforms (pants and shirt), boots, hats, gaiters, etc. There is also the mobile clinic that you affirmed does not exist, you can find it everyday where there is a greater number of cutters with a doctor to check on the workers for any health problem they may have.

We also support the company in its zero-tolerance policy in not allowing minors and people with borrowed IDs (a person who was not hired), since these are violations of our labor standards and we give faith that Ingenio San Antonio guarantees everyday that this does not happen.

With much honor all workers affiliated to Faustino Martínez Trade Union say that we are proud to work for a company which was the first to hire a doctor in the year 1911 to serve the workers, as well as a pioneer in ensuring their workers since 1965, bringing social security to the fields and that we enjoy the greatest benefits from our country such as the provision of basic grains, hospital, school, etc. and above all a decent living wage, which is easily verifiable by simply reading the Collective Agreement signed by all the unions and the company.

We understand the kidney disease situation that are facing not only former workers of this company but also persons and ex-workers from other industries in this and other areas of the country and also all persons affected by this disease along the Central Pacific region; we support all response activities to bring aid to these people, provided they are within the framework of respect and negotiation and only to attain welfare and unity of all the sick, but we are categorically opposed to outsiders who have come to this city to generate conflict and division between all brothers affected by kidney disease as it is the case of La Isla Foundation which unfortunately has only generated damage.

We know and strongly support the progress of the investigations that have been conducted and that although the cause of this illness has not been found yet, we will be supporting the upcoming studies that are in process of preparation by scientists at the School of Public Health at Boston University and Baylor College which, altogether, are looking for a solution to this public health problem that affects the Pacific region from Southern Mexico South to Panama.

We also inform and emphasize that it is our mandate to support and defend the rights of all workers and that we are always alert to any situation that may affect the economic stability of our families and the economy of this city and the country.

Francisco Molina Quiroz.

General Secretary

Faustino Martínez Trade Union

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