Whether members of the union representing workers of the Salvadorean Social Security Institute (ISSS) fired after the November 1999 strike continued to meet until late-2001 to discuss regaining lost salaries; whether the 226 employees fired were re-hired; whether employees involved in the November 1999 strike and subsequent meetings faced threats, assaults or attacks [SLV39503.E]

Workers and doctors of the Salvadorean Social Security Institute (ISSS) went on strike in November 1999 to demand a salary adjustment for some 11,300 employees (La Prensa 11 Mar. 2000). The strike lasted more than four months, ending after agreements which included a number of preliminary agreements, including a commitment from the Salvadorean government not to privatize the health services of the ISSS (ibid.).

After the first two weeks of strike, the ISSS fired 226 employees; however, five were later reinstated after it was found that they had been on vacation (La Prensa Gráfica 22 Dec. 1999). The case of the 221 fired employees went before the courts, ending with a 5 July 2000 ruling from the Supreme Court which did not oblige the ISSS to reinstate the fired employees, but declared their firing illegal (El Diario de Hoy 6 July 2000). The court gave the ISSS a few days to comply with the ruling; the possibilities for the ISSS after the ruling were either reinstating employees or paying them a severance to those who were not to be reinstated (ibid.). By 8 August 2000 most of the 221 fired employees accepted their reinstatement, while a minority opted to accept a severance pay (ibid. 8 Aug. 2000; La Prensa Gráfica 8 Aug. 2000). One source reported that 28 employees had opted for severance pay, while the other 193 would have until the next day to choose (ibid.). Another source cites an ISSS union (STISSS) source as stating that 70 percent of the fired employees would accept reinstatement, 25 percent would choose the severance pay, and five percent were already working elsewhere or were outside El Salvador and had left behind legal representation (El Diario de Hoy 8 Aug. 2000).

Those who accepted reinstatement, had to sign a waiver renouncing payment for the eight months they had been away from the ISSS (La Prensa Gráfica 8 Aug. 2000). This condition had been rejected earlier by the fired employees, but after extensive discussions over this condition (condición fue ampliamente discutida) between union representatives and ISSS management, the condition remained in place; the deputy director of the ISSS reportedly stated that the issue of lost wages would undergo a legal process to determine whether their payment would be feasible (ibid.). El Diario de Hoy reported that many of the employees accepting reinstatement insisted in having their lost yearly bonuses (aguinaldos) paid; the source cites the deputy director of the ISSS as saying that a means to satisfy that demand would be sought (8 Aug. 2000). The wages and bonuses which had been held back from other striking employees were repaid in mid-2000 after a court ordered the reimbursement (La Prensa Gráfica 23 June 2000).

Information beyond that provided in SLV36673.E of 30 March 2001 and above, including a conclusion to the issue of repayment of lost wages or bonuses for the reinstated employees, or on threats, assaults or attacks against employees involved in the November 1999 strike and subsequent meetings, could not be found among the published sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


El Diario de Hoy [San Salvador]. 8 August 2000. Susana Joma. "Despedidos ISSS vuelven a sus trabajos." http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/EDICIONESANTERIORES/2000/AGOSTO/agosto8/NACIONAL/nacio11.htm [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

_____. 6 July 2000. Teresa Cubias. "Reinstalo o indemnización, opciones que baraja el ISSS." http://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/EDICIONESANTERIORES/2000/JULIO/julio6/NACIONAL/nacio15.html [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

La Prensa [Tegucigalpa]. 11 March 2000. "Médicos salvadoreños levantan huelga e inician negociaciones con el gobierno." http://www.laprensahn.copm/caarc/0003/c11001.htm [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

La Prensa Gráfica [San Salvador]. 8 August 2000. Ena Rivas. "ISSS reincorpora a despedidos." http://archive.laprensa.com.sv/20000808/nacionales/nac1.asp [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

_____. 23 June 2000. Nancie Alvarado. "Empleados ISSS tramitan reintegro sueldos." http://archive.laprensa.com.sv/20000623/nacionales/nac5.asp [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

_____. 22 December 1999. Oscar Diaz and Blanca Abarca. "Directora ISSS evalúa más despidos." http://archive.laprensa.com.sv/19991222/nacionales/nac9.asp [Accessed 5 Sept. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

Country Reports 2000-2001. 2001-2002.

IRB Databases.

Latin American Weekly Report [London]. 2000-2002.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 2000-2002.

Proceso [San Salvador]. 2000-2002.

Internet sites, including:

Amnesty International

Human Rights Watch

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions