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Colombian oil workers’ union under increasing pressure

18 October, 2012IndustriALL Global Union firmly condemns the death threats addressed to representatives of Unión Sindical Obrera (USO) and the acts of repression and intimidation recently perpetrated in Colombia by security and intelligence forces, despite a new government order for negotiations.

Join IndustriALL in calling Termotecnica Coindustrial S.A. management to enter into dialogue with USO. From this page send your letter of protest to the local management.

The conflict with Termotécnica Coindustrial SA and Cepcolsa, a subsidiary of CEPSA, to which Termotécnica provides services, is now over 65 days old. Both companies continue to refuse to negotiate the list of demands of Termotécnica’s workers presented through USO, the trade union chosen to represent them.  On 10 October, the Colombian Ministry of Labour issued a sentence in favour of the workers and the USO, against Termotécnica obliging the parties to negotiate. Despite this, until today, neither have Cepcolsa and Termotécnica reacted to this decision.

In Puerto Gaitán in Colombia, the management of the oil field operator and its subcontractor are practicing strike-breaking strategies in clear violation of national and international labour standards. Workers have been offered economic incentives if they accepted to quit the USO and return to work. The employers have hired new workers with better salary conditions in order to replace striking employees. 

In letters to Termotécnica, Cepcolsa and ECOPETROL, the minority sharing holder of Puerto Gaitán oil field, IndustriALL has strongly condemned the anti-union practices in refusing dialogue with union representatives and in various forms of union-busting in violation of core ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL, also urged the Colombian government to take all the necessary measures to ensure the security of workers and trade unionists in Puerto Gaitán. It has been reported that death threats have been uttered against USO representatives by security forces during the mobilization of workers and part of the community on 5 October. On the same day, security and intelligence forces violently repressed the mobilization. 

These facts are a reminder that Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade unionists.

IndustriALL Global Union once again calls on its members to continue express their solidarity and support for its affiliate USO and the 1,100 striking contract workers in calling Termotécnica Coindustrial S.A. management to enter into dialogue with USO. From this page you can send your letter of protest to the local management.