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Gunmen murder union leaders and workers in Honduras

5 July, 2023A group of gunmen murdered thirteen people in Honduras, including four union leaders and several workers from the Gildan plant in San Miguel. IndustriALL has strongly condemned the killings and has called for justice to be done without delay.

On 24 June, thirteen people were killed by gunmen opening fire in a billiard hall in the city of Choloma, Honduras.

Among those murdered were Xiomara Cocas, president of SITRAGSAM (affiliated to FESITRATEMASH-CGT), her young son, Alexander Meléndez, and union leaders Delmer García, José Rufino Ortiz and Lesther Almendarez.

In a letter to the President, Xiomara Castro, condemning the attack, IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie, urged the Honduran government to conduct a thorough investigation to identify those responsible and to bring them to justice. He also called on the government to take every step necessary to ensure that unions and their representatives are able to operate without facing intimidation or violence in their role as the workers’ elected representatives.

The regional coordinator of Central American Textile Maquila Unions, CRSMT, which includes IndustriALL affiliates FITH from Honduras, FESTRAS from Guatemala, FESITEX/CST ZF from Nicaragua and FEASIES from El Salvador, has also expressed deep concern over the violent attack.

CRSMT called on the government “to ensure this multiple murder does not go unpunished and that justice is secured for the victims’ families”.

It also urged the Gildan Corporation to immediately express its solidarity with the workers’ families and ensure that the negotiation process for the closure of Gildan San Miguel take place on the best possible terms.

Atle Høie said:

“We trust these murders will not go unpunished and that the victims’ families will receive the necessary compensation.

"We urge the Honduran government to ensure full respect for human rights and the fundamental trade union rights enshrined in International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.”