With Salomón Batres, General Assistant Director of Labor

We're confident the conflict will have a positive outcome

The Ministry of Labor is facilitating talks between STIBYS
and Cervecería Hondureña


As negotiations between the Union of Beverage and Related Industry Workers (STIBYS) and the company Cervecería Hondureña (SAB-Miller) continue, the Ministry of Labor has appointed Salomón Batres, General Assistant Director of Labor, to join the talks as facilitator to help the parties reach an understanding. Negotiations have moved slowly due to the company’s reluctant attitude, and were delayed even further by the suspension of the meeting scheduled for Monday 16.


On February 17, STIBYS Bargaining Committee met again with Cervecería Hondureña (SABMiller) to examine a number of items on the bargaining agenda. Representatives of STIBYS, however, report that the company insists on changing what was agreed on during last week’s meetings, in an attitude that seems more focused on wasting time until the first stage of “direct talks” is exhausted, than on finding a real solution to the conflict.


To learn how the labor authorities see this situation, Sirel spoke with Salomón Batres, in his second day as delegate of Labor Minister Mayra Mejía in the negotiations at San Pedro Sula.


-What role has the Ministry of Labor played in this conflict until now?

-We’ve tried to perform what is our main duty as labor authority, which is to provide the right means, in terms of the Ministry’s specialized personnel, to try to bring the parties together. The Vice Minister of Labor, Roberto Cardona, and the General Assistant Inspector of Labor, Donaldo Martínez, have been involved, and now I’m here to collaborate as necessary to settle the conflict in the company.


-What were your first impressions of the way negotiations are going?

-We began today at 8:30 AM, and it looks a bit complicated, but nothing is impossible in this life. The willingness and attitude of the two parties will be key in reaching an agreement. I’ve let them know that I’ve come here willing to make any effort and sacrifice that is necessary to achieve a peaceful solution to this conflict.


-The workers members of STIBYS claim that the company has breached numerous clauses of the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in January 2008. What is your opinion on this?

-The inspectors came to the company to determine whether the reports filed by the Union were true, but they were unable to do so because the protest was already underway and the place of work had been occupied. They were only able to take statements from both sides. But there had been earlier reports filed with the General Labor Inspection, and the inspectors who came to the company in response to those reports did find that there were indeed violations, and the company was fined for Work Contract violations.


-Does the Ministry of Labor have a specific interest in this case?

-The Ministry of Labor is the governing institution in the public administration of labor matters and it has the obligation of bringing together the sides in conflict, that is, the two agents of production: capital and labor. So it’s our duty, and we’re here with the aim of helping the parties reach an understanding. I think the first step has been accomplished. It’s a very complex situation, but the two parties are clearly showing that they are willing to come to an agreement. I’m optimistic.

From San Pedro Sula, Giorgio Trucchi
February 19, 2009




Photos: Giorgio Trucchi


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