17 July, 2013Gerdau-Diaco dismissed one of their employees, Luis Cruz, on 5 July. Cruz has chained himself to the factory gates at the Duitama plant in protest at the company’s action. He is legally protected against dismissal because of a workplace accident he suffered in 1994.
He took this action on 8 July, the same day that Gerdau Diaco workers marched in protest at the situation at the company. See http://www.industriall-union.org/es/sindicatos-de-gerdau-en-colombia-marchan-por-el-respeto-a-sus-trabajadores.
Henry Perez, president of the Duitama branch of SINTRAMETAL, said that dismissals by Diaco Gerdau are a major problem at the Duitama plant and the company is doing this to weaken the union branch.
The worker said he wanted to draw attention to the serious situation that his family now faces. His wife and youngest son are both very ill and will receive no health care now that he is out of work.
IndustriALL Global Union and the Gerdau Workers’ World Council have written to the company asking it to reinstate Luis Cruz and respect workers’ rights at all their factories in Columbia.
Gerdau continues dismissing workers at the Duitama plant and is also refusing to negotiate a fair collective agreement with workers at the Cota plant. The World Council and IndustriALL demand that the Columbian authorities promote decent work and protect trade union rights.
Sintrametal has written to the Minister of Labour explaining the situation at Gerdau plants in Colombia and asking it to investigate the company, visit the Duitama plant and talk to workers and trade union leaders there.
Sintrametal will continue to support the struggle of Gerdau workers, oppose dismissals, plant closures and outsourcing and will demand that the company fulfil the promise it made when it first invested in the county, that is, benefit workers and communities.