We just celebrated Labor Day here in the United States, but Colombian workers have no room for celebration.
In our last alert we told you we would keep you updated on the injured workers from ASOTRECOL. Well, it turns out they need our help again. GM failed to propose realistic solutions to their demands during their mediation. Now, our friends from ASOTRECOL are restarting their hunger strike. As they continue to pressure GM for due compensation, we need to tell Congress to stand up for labor rights in Colombia and enforce the Labor Action Plan. As you recall, both governments signed the Labor Action Plan before the Free Trade Agreement was passed by Congress.
Unfortunately, ASOTRECOL’s situation is not an isolated incident of injustice to workers in Colombia. This past week, several Afro-Colombian port workers were attacked by members of the ESMAD, Colombia’s anti-riot police, as they protested in the Buenaventura port of Colombia. The workers are demanding higher salaries and an end to indirect hiring practices.
The Labor Action Plan was supposed to end the violation of these labor rights, yet we still see these abuses continuing, and workers are facing reprisals for standing up for their rights. According to the ENS, Colombia’s National Union School, there have been 566 threats and 34 murders perpetrated against unionists and labor activists since the Labor Action Plan was announced in April of 2011. We need to tell Congress now is the time to end the verbal and physical harassment of workers who demand fair treatment.