Lawmakers say workers face inhumane conditions

Several lawmakers demand government intervention at pineapple plantations in the northern zone of Costa Rica for allegations that the firms operating the farms violate the human rights of their employees.

Lawmakers from the Partido Acción Ciudadana and the sole lawmaker from Frente Amplio have claimed to Sandra Piszk Feinzilber, the minister of Trabajo y Seguridad Social, that the employers are violating the human rights of the workers. They also said employees have experienced discrimination and persecution.

The union workers said they are fired without justification and working under bad conditions, the lawmakers reported. The employees work on a daily basis in inhumane conditions with with inadequate tools, and are exposed to poison, said Claudio Enrique Monge Pereira, a lawmaker for Acción Ciudadana. Many workers also claim to work 14 hour days and only get paid for eight hours, with no overtime, said Monge.

There has been no response from anyone at the Ministerio de Trabajo so far, the lawmakers said Wednesday. They traveled there over the last few weeks. Monge said they will wait until the end of the week for a reply from the mninistry, and if they still do not have any response they said they will ask for a meeting with President Laura Chinchilla to discuss what they called atrocities.

This is one of many accusations pineapple union workers have taken to the Ministry of Trabajo with support from assembly members from Acción Ciudadana and Frente Amplio.

José María Villalta Florez-Estrada referred to the ministry as an embarrassment to the country for its lack in worker protection.

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