13 September, 2012In response to the dismissal of almost 300 workers at the end of August from two of Brazilian multinational Gerdau’s Colombian steel plants, a group of workers at Muña has decided to get organised and link up with the Sintrametal metalworkers’ union.
After the mass dismissals carried out by Gerdau Diaco at the Muña and Tocancipá plants in Colombia, a group of workers who were not dismissed joined the Sintrametal union, which organizes workers at other Gerdau Diaco steel plants at Duitama and Tuta in Bocayá and Cota in Cundinamarca. Sintrametal is part of UTRAMMICOL, which is affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union.
Last week, workers at the Muña plant held a meeting to get organised and defend their jobs, wages and the welfare of their families. The meeting had the support of the president and vice president of the Sintrametal Cota branch, respectively Esteban Gonzalez and Nelson Chacón who has been working for the union’s education and legal advice services for years.
The meeting formed a Sintrametal committee at Sibaté and later submitted the relevant documentation to the Ministry of Labour and Gerdau Diaco. The union said that the plant managers were trying to crush the recent wave of unionisation and had argued that it was undermining the trust between workers and managers.
José Edilberto Vallejo Madrigal and Raúl Hernando Acosta Herrera were elected as representatives of the committee, to act as spokesmen for the group and seek support for the new organisation.
Workers at the Muña plant in Sibaté received support from colleagues at the Cota, Tuta and Duitama plants.
IndustriALL Global Union said “as a global union in the industrial sector, we will closely follow the situation at the Diaco Gerdau plants and we will offer all our support and solidarity to help the affected workers.”