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Union leader gets death threats for collective bargaining in Honduras

On 14 September 2013, three heavily armed men attempted to break down the door of Víctor Crespo's home. Crespo is the Secretary General of the Shipping Workers Union (Sindicato Gremial de Trabajadores de Muelle) in Puerto Cortés, Cortés department.

Crespo told C-Libre on 25 September, that the attack against him was related to his current efforts towards collective bargaining with intermediary contractors from the Filipino company International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI). In February, ICTSI was awarded the contract for the Puerto Cortés port by the Honduran government.

“Get going, dog. Do you have any balls? You're messing with things on the pier and we're going to kill you for being the leader. Stop the collective contract negotiations,” Crespo was yelled at by his attackers while they tried to break down his door.

Crespo says he reported the incident to the National Directorate for Criminal Investigations in Puerto Cortés and to the office of the National Commissioner for Human Rights in San Pedro Sula.

Prior to the incident at his home, Crespo had received text messages and calls to his mobile telling him to stop the collective bargaining once and for all.

Antonio Fritz, the regional secretary for the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), visited Honduras to try to get protection for Crespo and to call on the Ministry of Transport authorities to look into the matter.

The ITF has also started a campaign asking the president of Honduras to provide police protection for Crespo and to guarantee their workers their right to collective bargaining.

“This was a shameful and cowardly attack that we believe is linked to the union's legitimate and lawful request for a collective bargaining contract which, despite being repeatedly refused by the employers, it is certain to secure,” said Fritz in a statement by the union.

“We have no doubt that Victor is in danger, and that the members of his union are also at risk. We are doing everything possible to defend him and them, but it is also time for the Honduran government and authorities to fulfil their obligations too.”

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