Colombia

The ITUC affiliates in Colombia are the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), the Confederación de Trabajadores de Colombia (CTC) and the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT).

In practice

Freedom of association / Right to organise

Barriers to the establishment of organizations:

Repeated failure to comply with ILO recommendations
31-12-2010

There is no legal tool to ensure compliance with the recommendations of the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
’s supervisory bodies. It is up to the goodwill of the government to take the necessary measures to prevent or overcome violations of the trade union rights conventions. Trade union organisations will again have to initiate legal proceedings to seek compliance with ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
recommendations. In the case of the Red Cross workers’ union, Sintracruzroja Colombia, which submitted a complaint to the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Committee on Freedom of Association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
in 2004, legal proceedings were taken against the government’s failure to comply. The government has been awaiting a final ruling from the Supreme Court since 31 March 2009.

Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office:

Anti-union practices at Pacific Rubiales Energy
24-09-2013

On the 30th of May, the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) filed a suit against the multinational oil company Pacific Rubiales Energy. According to the union, the company has systematically violated the trade union rights of oil workers in the municipality of Puerto Gaitán. More than 3000 workers affiliated with USO were fired for organizing a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to demand better working conditions.
Furthermore, according various testimonies, the company demands a proof that workers renounced their affiliation with USO in order to worker for oil companies based in Puerto Gaitán.

Practices to obstruct unionisation
30-11-2009

Service contracts, also known in Colombia as “service provision orders” (OPS), and civil contracting make it impossible for workers hired in this way to join a union, as they are covered by a legal regime independent of the labour legislation.

Increase in labour outsourcing
30-11-2009

Labour outsourcing outsourcing See contracting-out or subcontracting is still on the rise, largely driven by the ever-growing number of “Associated Work Cooperatives”. The “associates”, not being considered workers, do not enjoy the basic rights enshrined in the labour legislation, being covered by the legislation on cooperatives rather than on employment. Nor are they able to join unions, for a number of reasons, including the fact that they are not considered to be workers.

Trade union discrimination:

Anti-union practices at La Cabaña sugar mill
24-01-2014

La Cabaña sugar mill refused to formalise its employment relationship with its workers by continuing to hire them through intermediaries. It also refused to recognise the branch union of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria Agropecuaria (Sintrainagro) and to discuss the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
proposal submitted by the union in December 2012. Threats were also made against workers and their families. On 3 January 2013, La Cabaña dismissed 86 workers, including the members of the union’s executive board. Workers affiliated to the union received threats and, on 28 January, trade union activist Juan Carlos Pérez Muñoz was murdered in the municipality of Corinto, in Cauca. In March 2013, some 400 sugarcane workers affiliated to Sintrainagro declared a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at La Cabaña.

Prosegur brings criminal charges against trade unionists
31-08-2013

In August 2013, the multinational Prosegur brought criminal charges against eight trade unionists and demanded that they pay 500,000 USD in compensation. The workers charged were Fidel Alfonso, President of Sintravalores and seven leaders of the organisation’s branch in Medellín, who have been accused of slander by two Prosegur executives following some expressions used during a protest meeting. Two of them have also been accused of causing damage to third-party property, for allegedly painting slogans on the walls.

Dismissals of trade union leaders from Emdisalud
13-08-2013

On 13 August 2013, the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) condemned violations by the mutual healthcare company EmdiSalud EPS-S in Tunja, following the mass dismissals of workers and trade union leaders in retaliation for the presentation of a list of demands.

Anti-trade union harassment of sugar cane cutters
31-07-2013

In July 2013, the Risaralda company, which belongs to the same group as Incauca and Providencia, began a campaign of anti-trade harassment against over 400 sugar cane cutters, threatening them with dismissals. Making use of its dominant position, the company incited its subcontractors PROCAÑA SAS, MATECAÑA SAS and the trade union organisation SINTRAIDUBAL to oblige their workers to join this trade union and warned that if they failed to do so their contracts would not be renewed.

Interference by employers and anti-union discrimination
31-03-2013

The telecommunications giant, Claro, is well known for its union busting union busting Attempts by an employer to prevent the establishment of a trade union or remove an existing union, e.g. by firing union members, challenging unions in court, or by forming a yellow union. activities in Colombia. At Comcel, a branch of the conglomerate, there is no trade union. In Telmex-Colombia, also part of the Claro group, the union (SintraTelmex) has only 190 affiliated workers. Despite the fragile situation of SintraTelmex, the company has implemented a series of anti-union measures including the dismissals of union leaders.

After being ordered to reinstate workers unlawfully dismissed for creating a union, Fundación Universitaria San Martín reinstated them in junior positions and separate from each other in the campus.

Anti-union harassment at Flexo Spring
31-03-2013

In March 2013, the Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de las Artes Gráficas, Papeleros y Afines (Fenalgrap) denounced the anti-union harassment against the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Flexo Spring S.A.S (Sintraflexospring). Fenalgrap stated that since the setting up of the organisation, the company has been pursuing a campaign of harassment and pressure against the organised workers and attempting to stop further workers from joining the organisation.

Others restrictions:

Major Public Sector union suffers bombing
17-04-2014

On April 16, 2014, incendiary bombs were thrown at the headquarters of SINTRAEMCALI, the public sector union in Cali, Colombia. The attack comes just days after a major court decision on April 11, which ordered Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos and Vice President Angelino Garzón to ask forgiveness for crimes committed against SINTRAEMCALI, SINTRAUNICOL, and SINTRATELEFONOS unions during the government of former president Alvaro Uribe.

SINTRAEMCALI has been especially targeted by paramilitary groups for its organizing in the wake of a mass firing of Cali public sector workers in 2004. In the decade since, at least 15 members of SINTRAEMCALI have been forced into exile, 8 killed, and over 100 more threatened. The union was also the target of “Operation Dragon,” a government-backed assassination plot against then-SINTRAEMCALI President—and current senator—Alexander Lopez Maya and other human rights defenders in the region. The trial against several members of the Colombian armed forces is currently ongoing.

Trade unionists at Worldtex Caribe receive death threats
06-03-2014

On 2 March 2014, employees at Worldtex Caribe, a textile company with a staff of over 400 workers located in La Candelaria export processing zone export processing zone A special industrial area in a country where imported materials are processed before being re-exported. Designed to attract mostly foreign investors by offering incentives such as exemptions from certain trade barriers, taxes, business regulations, and/or labour laws. , in Mamonal, Cartagena, denounced the death threats against the presidents and three other members of SINTRATEXTIL and ASTRATEC, the two trade unions at the firm.

A pamphlet was left in one of the trade unionist’s pigeonholes at the company. The threats were issued following a peaceful demonstration by the workers, held in protest at the pay rise of only 1.94% for 2014 and company’s refusal to address the list of demands presented in March 2013.

Attempted grenade attack on trade union leader
11-02-2014

On 10 February 2014, the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) condemned the attempt on the life of Elsa María Páez, who is an executive member of the CGT and the Unión de Trabajadores Penitenciarios del Inpec (UPT).

The incident took place at 10 pm on 9 February, when her security guards detected a high-impact grenade hidden inside a chicken on the roof of her vehicle. The explosive was found as Elsa was preparing to settle down for the night with her young child at their home in the centre of the city. Thanks to the speed and precision of the action taken by the experts from the National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Protección), the grenade did not cause any damage or injuries.

The trade union leader has been threatened on a number of occasions and was issued with a death threat over a year ago.

Threats against SINTRACARBON leaders in Riohacha
24-01-2014

The president and the treasurer of the National Executive of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria del Carbón (SINTRACARBON) in the municipality of Riohacha, in the department of La Guajira, received repeated threats against themselves and their families between July 2012 and January 2013. The threats were issued whilst the two leaders were on the committee representing the union in the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
process with Carbones del Cerrejón Limited. According to the union, the intimidation sought to limit SINTRACARBON’s actions and demands aimed at defending the workers’ rights and developing the region. The leaders requested protective measures but did not receive an adequate, coherent and effective response to their individual requirements.

Death threats against trade union leader in Bucaramanga
24-01-2014

The departmental president of the Asociación Santandereana de Servidores Públicos (ASTDEMP) in the municipality of Bucaramanga, department of Santander, has been the target of ongoing threats.
On 8 April 2013, an envelope was found at the trade union head office with a message declaring her a military target and a public enemy. They also sent her two dolls representing her two daughters. One was without an arm and the other without a leg; their faces and bodies were splattered with red paint. The threat was signed by the paramilitary group Comando Urbano de los Rastrojos. Although measures are already in place to protect the trade union leader, she has requested that they also be extended to her daughters but has not yet received a response.

Peasant leader killed in Galapa
24-01-2014

Narciso Beltrán, a member of the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ASOTRACAMPO), a farm workers’ organisation affiliated to the Federación Agraria Nacional (FANAL), which is a CGT affiliate, was murdered on 12 April 2013 in the municipality of Galapa, in Atlántico.

Narciso Beltrán had been forcibly displaced and his work was partly focused on the fight for land restitution. He was allegedly killed by the Anti Land Restitution Army (Ejército Anti Restitución de Tierras), an illegal armed group made up of land owners linked to drug trafficking and paramilitarism. His father is the vice president of ASOTRACAMPO.

The association’s work includes the representation of over 130 families that have been occupying a section of El Tamarindo farm since 2001 and the defence of land rights through fair restitution.

According to Amnesty International, the peasant farmers occupying El Tamarindo have been receiving repeated threats from paramilitary groups. It reports that on 9 April a peasant farmer was told: “You are going to leave this place one way or another, this land has an owner”.

Teacher killed in Bolívar
24-01-2014

Leonardo García Morera, a member of the teachers’ union Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de la Educación del Valle (SUTEV), was murdered on 13 February 2013 in the municipality of Bolívar, in Valle del Cauca.
Leonardo began teaching in the state education sector a few years ago and taught primary school children at El Naranjal Educational Institute, Benjamín Agredo headquarters, in El Catre, in the municipality of Bolívar, in Valle.
He disappeared at midday on 13 February and his body was found later that night. The teacher was doing social work with the Embera indigenous community and, shortly before his murder, had organised resources with an international organisation to continue with this work. Following his murder, one of the head teachers at the institute where he worked commented that Leonardo and other teachers had received threats, which had been reported to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Trade union leader attacked by security forces
15-01-2014

On 10 January 2014 workers of the hydroelectric Caldas-CHEC (Central Hidroeléctrica de Caldas) – members of SINTRAELECOL-CUT, an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate – conducted a demonstration demanding the right to implement their Collective Agreement. The demonstrators also denounced the abuses committed by the Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM) against the communities in Caldas.

Demonstrators were violently attacked and beaten by the Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios, using explosive devices; one of these explosives seriously injured several workers and their families. Among them, the President of CUT and SINTRAELECOL-Caldas, Arturo Oscar OROZCO, who is still in hospital in a very serious condition, suffering critical injuries to his eyes. Reports say that Arturo Orozco has lost his left eye, and that doctors are struggling to save his right eye and to reconstruct his face.

This is fourth attack on Oscar Orozco’s life, who has suffered persecution by the security and justice agencies of the Colombian state and in particular by the Attorney General’s Office. Deliberately ignoring his role as a trade union and community leader, the Attorney General’s Office has attempted to convict Oscar Orozco claiming that he has staged “self- attacks”.

Colombian brewery union leader assassinated
15-01-2014

Ever Luis Marín Rolong, a regional leader of the SINALTRACEBA brewery workers union was murdered on 4 January 2014 by unknown gunmen who fired at him six times as he was waiting for a bus in the town of Soledad. The next day the President of SINALTRACEBA, Rafael Maldonado Gamboa, received death threats from paramilitaries while the union was holding its General Assembly.

USO trade union leader arrested
13-12-2013

On 2 November 2013, the vice president of the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO), Darío Cárdenas Pachón, was arrested in Villavicencio, Meta, on charges of obstructing public highways, damaging natural resources and causing intentional damage to property.
The USO insisted that his arrest was a setup, aimed at preventing the free exercise of trade union activities, and has been combined with a leafleting campaign, slander and threats against trade union leaders and their families.

President of the CUT in Caldas escapes attempt on his life
10-12-2013

IndustriALL Global Union condemns the attack on Óscar Arturo Orozco, president of the Caldas branch of the union central CUT and the electrical workers’ union SINTRAELECOL and calls on its affiliates to take solidarity action.

The attack took place when Óscar Orozco was driving home on the night of 13 November. The car window was hit by bullets and Orozco suffered cuts to the neck and the left hand. Immediately after the attack, Orozco reported the attack to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and requested a ballistics report on the car.

Oscar Orozco said: “this regrettable event is the latest in a series of attacks we have denounced in recent months and we hold the government responsible for our physical integrity and lives. We demand that these attacks be investigated and those responsible are quickly brought to justice”.

Orozco is a prominent social and trade union activist in the department of Caldas and has suffered four attacks in recent years, including letter bombs. On 4 August 2012, the CUT Caldas president and secretaries were victims of an attack while en route to a meeting of fisherfolk and miners in the district of Arauca. No attempt was made to examine the vehicle they were in or to investigate what happened. “One year later, the prosecutor did a U-turn and charged the victims themselves on the basis of what must certainly be false-positive test results. We call on supporters to follow this case because it seems that having escaped an attempt on their lives, the victims face the prospect of being put behind bars by the prosecutor and the Defender of the People”, said a spokesperson for the union.

Mining trade union leader threatened
17-10-2013

In October 2013, the Escuela Nacional Sindical de Colombia denounced threats made against the President of the Zaragoza branch of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria Minera, Petroquímica, Agrocombustibles y Energética (Sintramienergética), Fredy Urrutia. The threats began at the beginning of June during a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
called by the union when talks failed regarding a salary increase and better health and transport conditions with the Operadora Minera SAS, part of the Colpatria group.

Trade unionist murdered in Cali
17-10-2013

On Friday 27 September, Fernando Florez Viveros was murdered in his home in the Simón Bolívar area of Cali city. Viveros was President of the SINDOEPAL trade union, an affiliate of CTC Valle.

Attack on taxi drivers staging a peaceful demonstration
03-07-2013

On 3 July 2013, 16 taxi drivers who are members of the SNTT (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Transporte) were assaulted and arrested by police during a peaceful demonstration in Cartagena, Colombia.

Colpapel Kimberly did not want to negotiate with the trade union
30-06-2013

In June 2013, after the direct bargaining stage had been exhausted in the negotiations between the newly established trade union Sintrapulcar-Tocancipá and the American multinational Colpapel Kimberly, workers voted to go to the Court of Arbitration arbitration A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.

See conciliation, mediation
. The vote took place in four factories that the company has in the country and significant pressure was put on workers to vote for arbitration arbitration A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.

See conciliation, mediation
, as a strategy to break the trade union.

Murder of trade unionists
31-07-2012

At least 18 unionists where killed in Colombia and 359 received death threats in 2012.

In July 2012, Eder Tomás Cárdenas Chitiva, a union leader of SINDISPETROL, was murdered in the town of Paratebueno, Cundinamarca. He was part of a group of workers of the Spanish group Masa Acciona, who staged permanent assembly to press for the initiation of negotiations. According to union representatives, since the beginning of the permanent assembly, workers have begun to receive death threats from criminal armed groups.

Right to collective bargaining

Barriers to the recognition of collective bargaining agents:

Anti-union policy at BioFilm
13-12-2013

On 9 November 2013, the trade union organisation SINTRABIOFILM denounced the systematic persecution and obstruction of trade union activity and representation at BIOFILM S.A. The union reported that the company refuses to negotiate collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
demands and that trade union leaders have received threats from criminal groups.

Restrictions on the principle of free and voluntary bargaining:

Prosegur uses threats to impose “collective pact”
19-03-2014

In March 2014, the Spanish multinational Prosegur once again imposed a “collective pact" by bribing and threatening the workers. Two million pesos was the amount offered on this occasion to any unionised worker agreeing to renounce the union and the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
agreement and to accept the so-called collective pact renewed by the company in December 2013.

The company was denounced by Fidel Hugo Alfonso, president of SINTRAVALORES, the union representing Prosegur workers at company level. The union leader filed a report with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, calling on it to prosecute the company’s legal representative for violating the right to organise, which is an offence under the penal code. He also filed an administrative complaint with the Labour Ministry, accusing the company of discriminatory treatment, hindering the right to organise and contravening the collective agreement.

Tecsa refuses to negotiate the workers’ list of demands
31-08-2012

In August 2012, in Buenaventura Port, Tecsa, a subcontractor of the Sociedad Portuaria, refused to negotiate the demands presented by the port workers’ union Unión Portuaria, calling for equal rights in terms of wages and direct contracts for workers employed via intermediary companies for over five years. Tesca dismissed 117 subcontracted workers who had called for direct hire; all were African-Colombians and union members.

Restrictions on the scope of application and legal effectiveness of concluded collective agreements:

Violation of collective agreement
30-11-2012

In the town of Pereira, in November 2012, six Multiservicios workers– a municipal company in liquidation – started a hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
to prevent the dismissal of 200 workers in violation of their collective agreement.

Undermining of the recourse to collective bargaining and his effectiveness:

Threats against SINTRACARBON leaders in Riohacha
24-01-2014

The president and the treasurer of the National Executive of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria del Carbón (SINTRACARBON) in the municipality of Riohacha, in the department of La Guajira, received repeated threats against themselves and their families between July 2012 and January 2013. The threats were issued whilst the two leaders were on the committee representing the union in the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
process with Carbones del Cerrejón Limited. According to the union, the intimidation sought to limit SINTRACARBON’s actions and demands aimed at defending the workers’ rights and developing the region. The leaders requested protective measures but did not receive an adequate, coherent and effective response to their individual requirements.

Anti-union practices at La Cabaña sugar mill
24-01-2014

La Cabaña sugar mill refused to formalise its employment relationship with its workers by continuing to hire them through intermediaries. It also refused to recognise the branch union of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria Agropecuaria (Sintrainagro) and to discuss the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
proposal submitted by the union in December 2012. Threats were also made against workers and their families. On 3 January 2013, La Cabaña dismissed 86 workers, including the members of the union’s executive board. Workers affiliated to the union received threats and, on 28 January, trade union activist Juan Carlos Pérez Muñoz was murdered in the municipality of Corinto, in Cauca. In March 2013, some 400 sugarcane workers affiliated to Sintrainagro declared a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
at La Cabaña.

Hunger strike by Nestlé workers
17-10-2013

On 10 October 2013, workers at Nestlé and members of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Sistema Agroalimentario (Sinaltrainal) chained themselves together in front of the factory in Bugalagrande and began a hunger strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
calling on the multinational to implement the collective agreement and to respect the dignity of the workers and the trade union.

Medellín’s Metro refuses to negotiate with workers
31-07-2013

The Metro in Medellin took a month and a half to agree to negotiate with the recently created trade union. In July 2013, of the 48 demands that SINTRAMETRO presented to them for negotiation they only agreed to negotiate two points, both related to legal rights which were not being implemented. The company inflated the cost of the demands to rule them out.

Coca Cola tries to weaken collective bargaining
26-07-2013

On 26 July 2013, the Coca Cola bottling plant in Medellín dismissed 132 subcontracted workers, 18 of whom were trade unionists. The Sinaltrainal trade union condemned the dismissals, which were designed to ensure that the workers could not negotiate the list of demands and the company could continue to put pressure on their wages.

Refusal to bargain in good faith at Sodimac
31-01-2013

In January 2013, when retail workers at Sodimac – a distributor of building materials – created a union (Sintrasodimac), the company immediately began a policy of harassment as well as attempting to impose a parallel collective agreement in a bid to pressure workers to leave the union.

Collective bargaining marginal
31-12-2010

There are over a million companies and 19 million workers in Colombia, but
collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
is virtually a marginal activity. The negotiation of collective agreements has fallen over the last eight years. The Colombian government has done nothing to encourage free collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
, conducted in good faith. The widespread anti-union attitude of employers, whose practices run contrary to good faith and free and voluntary bargaining, continues with no legal or administrative tools to adequately or effectively promote collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
rights.

Public workers’ collective bargaining rights still limited
30-11-2009
Collective pacts
30-11-2009

Although a slight increase was seen in the number of collective agreements signed during 2009, (360, as compared with 280 in 2008, according to Social Protection Ministry figures), employers continue to violate ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Convention 98. Another 221 collective pacts, used by employers to offer non-unionised workers better conditions and thus prevent unionisation, were signed over the year (the same number as in 2008).

Limitations or ban on collective bargaining in certain sectors:

Collective bargaining marginal
31-12-2010

There are over a million companies and 19 million workers in Colombia, but
collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
is virtually a marginal activity. The negotiation of collective agreements has fallen over the last eight years. The Colombian government has done nothing to encourage free collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
, conducted in good faith. The widespread anti-union attitude of employers, whose practices run contrary to good faith and free and voluntary bargaining, continues with no legal or administrative tools to adequately or effectively promote collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
rights.

Right to strike

Undue interference by authorities or employers during the course of a strike:

Arrest of CUT trade union leader
25-08-2013

On 25 August 2013, trade union leader Hubert de Jesús Ballesteros Gómez was arrested. The union leader is an executive member of the CUT-Colombia, affiliated to the ITUC and the TUCA, and was arrested within the context of the national agricultural strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

Drummond does not respect the right to strike
19-08-2013

On 19 August 2013, the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia (CUT) condemned the attempt by the multinational Drummond to break the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
being carried out by workers, in particular those who are members of the SINTRAMIENERGETICA trade union. A trade union statement condemned the labour authorities’ “complicity” with the company. Two senior managers at the multinational called a vote to put an end to the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, with the approval of the Ministry of Labour, without taking into account that the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
had been called by the trade unions at Drummond and that it was taking place within the framework set out by the Constitution, the labour laws and international conventions.

Undermining of the recourse to strike actions or their effectiveness:

Exercising the right to strike as a trade union and social act
31-12-2010

The increase in protest action by non-unionised and informal sector workers seen in previous years continues. This action has involved drivers, including lorry drivers and dump truck drivers, moto-taxi drivers, footballers, the 2000 recyclers who protested in Bogota, informal vendors and traders in various Colombian cities, informal sector petrol vendors and porters in border regions near Venezuela. In Medellin and its surrounding area alone, there were 15 protests by urban bus drivers over constant extortion and the violations of their life, liberty and personal safety.

The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in February at the DPA-Nestlé milk multinational (formerly Cicolac, also run by Nestlé) by about 140 workers lasted for 40 days and was in protest at the company’s refusal to reach a settlement on a list of demands presented in December 2009. The strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
was accompanied by a media offensive aimed at putting pressure on and discrediting the workers in the eyes of the public while denying them the right of reply.

In October the Association of Sick Drummond Employees (ASOTREDP) held a protest outside the Ministry of Social Protection to denounce the serious health problems affecting them as a result of their work as miners. Miners from the Sinifana coal mining region in south east Antioquia also held demonstrations in protest at the tragedy in Amagá in June 2010 in which 74 miners lost their lives.

Members of the mine and energy workers union SINTRAMIENERGETICA employed by the Carbones de La Jagua coalmine, owned by the Swiss multinational Glencore, began a 40 day strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in June in the town of La Jagua de Ibirico, Cesar department, which ended with the signing of a collective agreement. Several demonstrations took place in September in the towns of Segovia and Remedios, Antioquia department, culminating in a civil strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
involving the populations of both towns, to defend the workers’ ownership of the Frontino Gold Mines company. These events highlight the serious problems in the mining industry and their disastrous consequences for the environment, the local population and national interests, undermined by those of multinational capital.

Other restrictions:

Repeated failure to comply with ILO recommendations
31-12-2010

There is no legal tool to ensure compliance with the recommendations of the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
’s supervisory bodies. It is up to the goodwill of the government to take the necessary measures to prevent or overcome violations of the trade union rights conventions. Trade union organisations will again have to initiate legal proceedings to seek compliance with ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
recommendations. In the case of the Red Cross workers’ union, Sintracruzroja Colombia, which submitted a complaint to the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Committee on Freedom of Association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
in 2004, legal proceedings were taken against the government’s failure to comply. The government has been awaiting a final ruling from the Supreme Court since 31 March 2009.

Impunity for crimes against trade unionists continues
31-12-2010

Impunity remains a very serious problem in the case of crimes against trade unionists. The Public Prosecution Service only investigates 25.5% of murders and less than 3% of cases of other forms of anti-union violence. The number of people sentenced remains so low that the level of impunity for crimes against trade unionists remains at 98%. Investigations carried out by the Prosecution Service’s sub-division up to February 2010 provided no significant results. The sub-division had 1,344 cases assigned to it but in reality is only investigating 1,150, because they could not find the physical records for 194 cases.

Between January 2002 and April 2010 the courts recorded 296 sentences, of which 207 were handed down by judges specialised in cases of anti-union violence. These cases concerned 414 victims, of which 254 are trade unionists, and 12 are trade unionists’ family members. 148 are people who were victims of anti-union violence, although they have nothing to do with the trade unions. These results show that impunity remains very high despite the increase in the number of sentences handed down. The level of impunity for the crime of forced disappearance is chilling – one sentence in 218 cases, while impunity for non-lethal violence which causes intimidation and restricts freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
is virtually 100%.

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