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Colombia Actions

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8 October, 2013

The Global Glass Alliance of Unions at Owens Illinois which includes: United Steelworkers (USW), Unite of the UK and Ireland, Glass Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union (GMP) of the United States and Canada; the AMWU and AWU of Australia, the IG BCE of Germany, CC.OO. of Spain, FSP KEP of Indonesia, CNQ-CUT of Brazil, Sintravidricol of Colombia, unions in France, Peru and IndustriALL Global Union, in the framework of the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October condemns Owens Illinois in Colombia.

According to information supplied by the Union of Temporary Workers (SINTRADIT), in the city of Buga Valle, in the west of Colombia, in a plant owned by the Owens Illinois subsidiary Cristar, an organization called an SAS [a type of in-house contractor in Colombia], is employing casual workers to make cups, drinking glasses and jars, all of which they’ve produced for 11 years in the plant named Cogua, alongside regular unionized workers who enjoy benefits. Owens Illinois does this by using contractors with various names. There are 600 workers in this unusual situation, put there by a multinational corporation that boasts of being part of the United National Global Compact, of being a responsible corporate citizen, of using social dialogue and of being certified as guaranteeing labour rights, all of which are demonstrated to not be the case in light of this situation.

Seeking protection, these workers of the SAS working at the Owens Illinois subsidiary Cristar’s plant affiliated to the union Sintradit and presented a list of demands that complied with stipulations in Colombian laws. Going around the law, the Owens Illinois subsidiary refused to discuss the workers’ list of demands and proceeded to block the entry of these workers into the factory, violating these workers’ right to the freedom of association and right to engage in collective bargaining. These workers are now found protesting in tents that are located in front of the company. [Workers in Colombia on strike often have tents at the picket line.]

The Global Glass Alliance is making an urgent call to the national and international trade union movement, to the Global Union Network at Owens Illinois, to the International Labour Organization (ILO) and to the authorities, to condemn this reprehensible treatment of workers in Colombia by Owens Illinois through the SAS.