Trade unions

The Constitution of El Salvador establishes the right of public and private workers to form unions. However, this is not a common practice,it is rather non-existentwithin the media of El Salvador. To date, the only organisation closest to being considered as a union is the so-called Sindicato de Periodistas y Similares de El Salvador (Syndicate of Journalists and similars of El Salvador, SINPESS), created in 1989 by the employees of the Diario Latino, who subsequently founded a Cooperative Society of Employees of the Diario Latino de R.L., owner of the current CoLatino newspaper. The SINPESS is made up of employees of that newspaper and by people who do not exercise the journalistic profession.

There is awareness among journalists that they have t the right to be part of a union and that it is an essential political instrument they have available whether they work in the public or private sector, to promote and defend their interests. However they manifest little to none interest in forming a union within the companies they work for. This situation has allowed massive layoffs, harassment and violations to labor rights. Recently, the Ministry of labor and social prevision (MTPV in Spanish) and APES have made joint efforts to attempt to guarantee labor rights for journalists in situations such as unjustified layoffs, no pay of overtime hours and unreported social benefits. Sandra Guevara, an official from the Ministry has presented detailed information reporting that just from August 2017, more than 56 complaints have been issued, with a close follow-up to achieve a positive outcome. She pointed out that these 56 cases were in traditional media companies such as printed, television and radio media but also in digital media. The complainers argue that their labor rights have been violated.

It also states that a big issue for the Ministry of Labor is that journalists from media companies do not issue complaints about violations of their rights. Some representatives from the journalist guild have publicly declared and published on their website that one of the outcomes of the agreement between them and the Ministry is the signature of a letter of engagement. This document proposes that both institutions (the Ministry and APES) ensure the journalists rights, independently of the kind of media they work.