Dominican Republic: Death of 5 construction workers unleashes national mobilizations

31 July 2019 03:43

Project collapse in Santiago de los Caballeros. Source: Acento

On 21 May five construction workers tragically lost their lives with the terrible collapse of part of the Calle Del Sol, which generated the downfall of the underground bases for new AC Marriot Santiago Hotel, in Santiago de los Caballeros. The accident killed five construction workers and left many more injured. The trade union movement continues its efforts for justice for the workers and their families and improved safety in construction sites.

According to the College of Architects and Surveyors Engineers (CODIA), a State advisory organization on construction, the accident was due to an extraction of a significant volume of land that was not replaced and lack of retaining walls.

In response to this accident, the National Federation of Construction, Wood and Building Materials Workers (FENTICOMMC), an affiliate of BWI activated its OSH team nationwide. FENTICOMMC conducted a big mobilization on 19 June demanding the Government Building of Santiago better OHS conditions and to protest against the collapse. Additionally, on 21 June FENTICOMMC filed a formal petition to the government, where they expressed their concern and demanded the Ministry of Labor supervise construction projects.

One month after the mobilizations, FENTICOMMC remains in its fight for justice. Despite being brutally repressed by local police with tear gas bombs during the demonstration on 19 June, FENTICOMMC has formed Assistance Committees with its affiliated unions in Santiago, in order to follow up on injured workers and support deceased relatives. FENTICOMMC has also indicated that they will follow up on their demands in future tripartite meetings with the government, in terms of health and safety.

BWI sends its condolences and deepest sympathies to families of deceased workers: Joan Manuel Cruz Rivera, Ariel Jerez, Eddy Lisiener, Elvin Torres, and Orlando Herrera who was a master builder trapped after the landslide and perished while assisting other workers to escape.