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Cerrejón mineworkers hold firm: show your support

7 October, 2020Workers at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia are five weeks into a bitter strike against the imposition of a brutal new shift system. They need your support.

Members of IndustriALL affiliate Sintracarbón are in the fifth week of a strike at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia.

Union president Igor Diaz gives a strike update in a radio interview on Monday

When the Covid-19 restrictions began, collective bargaining negotiations were suspended. When they resumed this summer, Cerrejón unilaterally announced a radical change to the shift system, without consulting the union and in violation of Colombian law. The new shift roster, which workers call the 'death shift', will lead to the loss of 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, and require workers to work an additional 72 days a year for the same wage.

Sintracarbón members voted for strike action to resist this assault on their terms and conditions. The Colombian labour ministry offered facilitation to end the strike, but Cerrejón boycotted the process. The mine is jointly owned by three multinational mining companies, AngloAmerican, BHP and Glencore, who have refused to intervene. IndustriALL has written to the companies more than once to demand they take responsibility for the crisis.

IndustriALL has also written to Cerrejón’s customers - major energy companies in Europe and Turkey, including Vattenfall and Engie – asking them to conduct due diligence over Cerrejón’s violations of workers’ rights. In addition, IndustriALL is contacting institutional investors in the three mining multinationals, including pension funds, to make them aware of the situation.

Sintracarbón workers need your support. Please sign the LabourStart petition and tell the company to return to the negotiating table.