Ngäbes ask for salary increase, employer fires and evicts them
There is a complaint in the public ministry for what happened in Chiriquí
There are nine workers of the Ngäbe Buglé ethnic group who were evicted from the place that had been their home for years and who this Sunday and Monday were left with nothing.
According to Ramiro Atencio, one of those affected, it was all because they requested an increase in salary from their employer, but in response they terminated their employment relationship once the contract expired and threatened to remove them by force from the camp they were assigned to . had assigned to live while they worked there.
Atencio said that one of the oldest workers has been working for 20 years for the family business that grows agricultural products in Cerro Punta, Tierras Altas district, in Chiriquí,
‘They took us ill will since we made use of our labor rights and we asked them for a salary increase, they canceled our contracts and threatened to remove us by force, because we answered that we would stay in the camp until they pay us the benefits’ Attention replied.
In addition, he assured that his employer deducted the social security fee but never gave them a card to go to the doctor.
Atencio said that on Sunday and Monday the owner of the farm sent his staff to the village, breaking windows, doors and roofs, leaving everyone with their belongings out in the open. ‘Here there are newborn children and three women, we have lost all the children’s food, clothing and milk’, declared the farmer.
On Monday afternoon, those affected filed a complaint with the Public Ministry,
One of the lawyers for the technical defense, as plaintiff, detailed who preferred to omit his name and indicated that the workers claim a series of labor benefits that have not been paid, such as vacations and the thirteenth month.
The head of the Ministry of Labor (Mitradel), Doris Zapata reported that the process is in the labor courts.
‘We do not have jurisdiction, however we have activated the staff of the Chiriquí Regional Directorate to provide assistance and guidance to the people who are currently in that situation [of eviction], because they have no influence since the case is in a labor court, we have legal,’ Zapata asserted.
The minister added that it is a human issue and referred to some videos that circulated showing the workers who were left out in the open.
One of the plaintiffs’ lawyers revealed that the company has incurred in a series of anomalies that have already been denounced in the corresponding instances.
One of these anomalies is the non-payment of social security contributions that were deducted from their salaries, but the workers never received the cards that are proof of this payment to the Social Security Fund.
Ruling Ermenegildo Beker, director of the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (Mitradel) in the province of Chiriquí, assured that ‘it is a situation that has been occurring since April due to a breach of the Labor Code between the company and the workers, there was a ruling that ruled that the workers have the right to reinstatement but it was protected and is in the Supreme Court of Justice’.