El Salvador  ALERT


Open Letter from SELSA

Open letter from the Union of Workers of LIDO SA to the President of the Republic and the Minister of Labor of El Salvador






President of the Republic of El Salvador

Mauricio Funes Cartagena


Minister of Labor and Social Security of El Salvador

Humberto Centeno



It should be noted that since June 1st, 2009 significant progress has been made in the field of labor, as evidenced especially by the large number of trade unions that exist in the public sector and the thousands of workers who can now defend their rights and enjoy protection.


However, few of these gains can be sustained if no progress is made in the signing of collective bargaining agreements, especially in the private sector, where freedom of association and collective bargaining are still considerably hindered and prevent workers from improving their living conditions.


An emblematic case in this sense is the company LIDO SA, founded 67 years ago by Raúl Molina Martínez and later inherited by his sons, Raúl Molina Martínez and Manuel Roberto Molina Martínez.


They managed it together for several decades until the death of Raúl Molina Martínez in September 2009.


For over a decade, LIDO SA has been implementing a strategy of subcontracting other companies, also linked to the Molina Martínez family but not included under the collective bargaining agreement currently in force.


Thus, even though the workers employed by these subcontracted companies manufacture LIDO products, they do not have the same benefits as the workers hired directly by LIDO SA.


Therefore, over these past years the basic principle of “equal pay for equal work” has been violated. For example, subcontracted workers of the company FAMOLCAS SA, which is part of the LIDO Group, earn about 226 US dollars a month with no additional benefits other than those strictly stipulated by law, and their rights are constantly threatened.


In contrast, the workers employed directly by LIDO SA, who perform the same tasks and work side by side with outsourced workers, in the same workplace, earn a monthly wage of 281 US dollars, with the benefits established under the collective bargaining agreement signed between LIDO SA and our trade union, SELSA.


Despite our efforts to include the workers subcontracted by FAMOLCAS and other companies of the LIDO Group in the collective agreement, the legal representatives of the group have stubbornly refused to heed our demands.


Since the death of Raúl Molina Martínez this situation has been aggravated by heated family and business disputes, which have resulted in some serious consequences. One such consequence was the bankruptcy of DIGAPAN SA de CV, for which an action has been brought against Manuel Roberto Molina Martínez in San Salvador’s Fifth Court of Criminal Investigation, on charges of misappropriating money withheld from the workers’ wages for social security benefits, pensions, loans and child support.


As a result, 600 people lost their jobs in a conflict that could have been resolved through negotiations.


In July 2011, when it came time to revise our wages, we were forced to stage a strike pursuant to legal provisions. Not only did the company refuse to address our demands, it has responded with repression and confrontation.


We have been trying to revise our collective bargaining agreement since September 2011, in accordance to the procedure established by law.


LIDO SA has refused to attend the different stages of direct negotiations and conciliation convened by the Ministry of Labor.


Our latest effort at establishing a dialogue was a request for arbitration, but the company failed to even respond to this request. Instead, on February 8 it stepped up the confrontation by firing 12 workers, leaving us with no other option than to stage a legal strike.


Even though we have the right to strike and have made the decision to go ahead with the strike, pursuant to the law and with the full support of the workers, we have found that management’s intransigence is being prompted by interests that have nothing to do with labor relations and which are seeking to create an atmosphere of social instability during the coming elections.


That is the only explanation we can find for LIDO SA’s latest actions, which are pushing us to stage a strike that will practically coincide with the legislative and municipal elections.


For all of the above:


1.- We ask the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Humberto Centeno to, personally and through the different offices of the Ministry, act effectively and without delay to mediate this conflict and call the company to the negotiating table so we can resolve our differences through dialogue.


2.- We ask the President of the Republic, Mauricio Funes Cartagena,  to use his good offices with LIDO SA to facilitate a negotiated solution to this labor conflict.


3.- We call on LIDO SA’s management to reflect on the situation and not be manipulated by interests that have nothing to do with labor relations, and to sit down and negotiate in a forthcoming and proactive way.


4.- We ask the workers of all the companies that are part of the LIDO SA Group to be on alert to trade union calls, so that, if necessary, we can stage a strike pursuant to legal provisions in all the centers of production operating under the LIDO brand.


5.- We ask consumers in El Salvador and the United States to demand that the LIDO SA products they purchase be manufactured under improved working conditions for the Salvadorians who day after day put great energy and effort to make such products.


San Salvador, February 20, 2012



Union of Workers of LIDO S.A. (SELSA)

An affiliate of FESTSSABHRA, CSTS and the IUF




Miembros De la Federación Sindical de Trabajadores Salvadoreños del Sector Alimentos, Bebidas, Hoteles, Restaurantes y Agroindustria FESTSSABHRA – CSTS – UITA –MPR-12 Y FSNP: PBX; (503)22252315, 22255936,77915264, e-mail; sindicatoselsa@yahoo.com


February 23, 2012




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