31 January, 2013Carbones de Cerrejón workers in Colombia have voted to go on strike at the beginning of February. Their union, Sintracarbón, is hoping that the company will make a new proposal that will meet workers’ demands and end the dispute that began on 29 November last year.
After the interim deadline for completing negotiations for a new collective agreement passed on 19 January, the union put the matter to the vote.
Voting ended on 29 January and 96.7 per cent voted to go on strike in order to resolve the dispute that began on 29 November. The union has formed a strike committee composed of members of the negotiating committee and members of Sintracarbón's national executive committee. The strike will begin sometime between 1 and 9 February.
The union said it is waiting for the company to make a new proposal and present it to all union members at the mine. It hopes Carbones de Cerrejón will acknowledge the contribution made by its 12,000 direct and indirect employees to company profits. The mine is the most profitable coal mine in Colombia.
Two weeks ago, IndustriALL Global Union wrote to the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, to express solidarity with workers at Cerrejón and demand an end to intimidation of union leaders and a fair solution to the dispute.