Mexico and Colombia have been singled out for special attention by IndustriALL Global Union due to severe and systematic trade union violations against IndustriALL affiliates in both countries.
The Executive Committee reviewed progress in Mexico and Colombia when it met in Geneva last month. In both countries, IndustriALL’s project activities and solidarity actions are supporting unions working in very difficult circumstances.
In Mexico, independent unions are prevented from organizing and gaining bargaining rights because of the near universal use of sham ‘protection contracts’.
A number of activities aimed at helping independent unions in Mexico to organize and gain bargaining rights are underway with the support of IndustriALL’s North American affiliates the Steelworkers, UNIFOR, UAW and UE. Some recent successes by Los Mineros are helping to give workers confidence in standing up for their right to form or join the union of their choice.
In addition, international pressure on the government to ensure respect for freedom of association continues, as do the efforts of independent unions to seek justice in the courts, with a number of recent successes in this area.
In Colombia, where more trade unionists are killed every year than in the rest of the world combined, unions face constant persecution in a climate of total impunity.
IndustriALL’s union-building project in Colombia, supported by LO-TCO, has been instrumental in building unity; three affiliates are now on the verge of coming together in a strong mining and energy union, CUSME.
The regional Latin American conference held in Bogota in May provided an opportunity to show support to IndustriAll affiliates. The week’s activities included a demonstration by 200 delegates in front of Ecopetrol in solidarity for oil workers union USO; a visit to a jailed USO leader; as well as a meeting with the country’s Vice President.