Saturday, December 17, 2011

Business Organizations At Odds Over Security, Minimum Wage

The Asociación Nacional de Industriales (ANDI) decided last week to stop participating for a while in the main business association of Honduras, the Consejo Hondureño de la Empresa Privada (COHEP).


Because ANDI's president, Adolfo Facussé, was kicked out of the Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Interior (CONASIN) for proposing a candidate for president of that body, intended to deal with cleaning up corruption in the police. CONASIN has existed for a while, but scholars have noted that even in the first half of the 2000s, it "rarely convened". In 2010, Julia Schünemann reported in a study for the EU-funded think tank FRIDE that
in recent years the functions of CONASIN have been severely cut, turning it into a toothless, “ornamental” body, and ultimately reducing civilian oversight and participation.

CONASIN was essentially moribund. Now, with police corruption the story of the hour, it is being reactivated.

COHEP chose to remove Facussé as its representative to CONASIN because they did not approve of his suggesting a candidate of his own. Facussé was replaced by the president of COHEP, Santiago Ruiz.

Adolfo Facussé reacted to this as a personal affront:
How can I go to a place where they expelled me and ignored my representations.... I don't want a bigger mess. If I bothered them, I won't attend, I don't need them....I won't attend, but ANDI will continue to be a member.

It's the first time I've been expelled from an organization, and that's why I resent it. If it was the second or third time, I'd be used to it.

ANDI also has decided not to participate in minimum wage negotiations, while COHEP will be participating. According to Facussé, that is a change from a position the business associations had agreed on, to not participate with Lobo Sosa in this exercise (which, readers will remember, was one of the presidential functions that polarized the business community against Manuel Zelaya Rosales during his term as president). Facussé said
In the last meeting of presidents of business organizations carried out by COHEP it was decided that we were not going to participate, I don't know if that organization changed its opinion, I am not attending the meetings now since they expelled me as a member of the Consejo Nacional de Seguridad Interior.

Regardless of whether they participate or not, ANDI member businesses will be bound by any agreements that come out of wage negotiations.

The ANDI-COHEP conflict, which Facussé makes seem very personal, represents a fragmentation in what until now was a united front in the business community.

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