On Wednesday, January 29, El Salvador’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare opened an investigation against the NEMTEX maquila (textile factory) after receiving reports from workers that factory management was pressuring workers to vote for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party candidate Norman Quijano. Workers at other maquilas have also reported other incidents of voter coercion.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the institution is aware of multiple companies that exert, “pressure against their workers so they will vote for right-wing party candidates.” The Ministry encouraged any worker who has received this type of pressure to make an official complaint so an investigation can be opened.
Voter coercion by employers violates El Salvador’s Constitution and Labor Code, as well as multiple international human rights conventions. “Upon confirming that this company [NEMTEX] is coercing its workers, the respective sanctioning processes will be initiated. This State institution will use all of our available legal recourses to avoid employer reprisals against their workers,” read the Ministry of Labor’s communiqué.