Hermosa Maquila Workers Put Former Boss in the Hotseat
Women workers from the now-closed “Hermosa Manufacturing” maquila factory announced that Hermosa owner, Joaquin Salvador Montalvo, will be the subject of a court hearing set for September 1 in the city of Apopa . The women are suing their former boss for failure to pass on their social security and pension deductions to the government agencies responsible for those accounts. Montalvo now operates a maquiladora known as MB Knitting Mills in Guazapa, 20 miles from San Salvador.
The women’s pay stubs show deductions for Social Security and pension payments, but Montalvo failed to pass those deductions to the Salvadoran Social Security Institute (ISSS) and pension fund. Hermosa workers report that many employees got a rude awakening when they visited public hospitals and were told that they could not be served because they had not paid into the system. Workers say that Social Security authorities and Montalvo worked out a partial payment deal, whereby some women received care at government facilities, while others were arbitrarily shut out. Many pregnant women were denied pre-natal care as a result of the negligent payments.
Now Montalvo is in the hot seat. It’s not the first time: workers previously occupied his factory for months when Montalvo closed Hermosa and attempted to move equipment to the MB Mills site 20 miles away. Former Hermosa workers have opened lawsuits against their former boss for back wages, pension money, and social security payments. The September 1 hearing will define if there is enough evidence to move to trial in the pension case. The other cases are pending.
Hermosa workers are asking that interested persons and unions send the following letter to El Salvadoran President Tony Saca, to bring their former boss to justice for his negligent actions. Click here for the letter: SPANISH version; ENGLISH version.