Trade Union Officials and 17 Workers Arrested in Timor-Leste

12 October 2011

On Tuesday 11 October at 08am, the General Secretary and the National
Organizer of General Workers’ Union including 17 workers were arrested
by police while preparing for a peaceful protest in the office of
Ministry of Justice.

The protest was being staged in support of the demand of 19 workers
that been dismissed unfairly by the Justice Ministry. These two union
officials, the Secretary General Mr. Almério Vila Nova and the
National Organizer Mrs. Henita Casimira of the General Workers’ Union
(SJT-TL) and the 17 workers are now still in the cell of Police in
Caicoli-Dili.

The workers were engaged in the preparation of protest were dismissed
from the Turismo Hotel because of the unfair decision of the Justice
Ministry towards their management in closing the business.

The dismissed workers are all members of the General Workers’ Union
who had been active in attempts to negotiate with the employer and the
government regarding the compensation and the continuation of their
employment with the new management.

Timor-Leste’s union believes that the motivation of the arrest is to
protect the government member (Justice Minister Mrs. Lucia Lobato) and
to intimidate workers to not speak up their right and to not protest
the government members.

The president of Peak Union Body in Timor-Leste/KSTL, Mr. José da
Conceição da Costa said that this is abuse of power of the government
member. “She wants to take advantage (benefits) of the business that
is why she decides to kick out the current management and give the
contract to other business man so she can be benefited from the
business”. This is unfair decision in the Democratic Country like
Timor-Leste and it is caused many workers lose their jobs. The
minister only thinking for herself and ignore the people who she
supposed to served.

After tripartite negotiations with the employer and the Justice
Minister in last year, the minister agreed to settle this matter in a
very short time, but until today there is no realization yet.

Formal protests are being lodged by the union with the Government of
Timor-Leste and the parliament over the intervention of the police and
the attitude of the minister in causing dismissal of the workers, and
urge the National Police to immediately release the union officials
and the workers.

KSTL calls upon the government and the parliament to take serious
actions to settle this matter as quickly as possible.

Contact Details:

José da Conceição da Costa (ZITO)

President

KSTL

+ 670 723 9824

E-mail: zito.kstl@gmail.com

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