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New threats to Sintracarbón leaders in Colombia

25 November, 2014Once again, members of Sintracarbón, affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, have received death threats. IndustriALL calls on the Colombian government to stop the persecution of trade unions and reiterates its solidarity with our threatened colleagues.

A criminal organisation calling itself the Joint Urban Command of the Rastrojos and Black Eagles sentenced to death the leaders of the Sintracarbón, Sintrabienestar and Sindesena trade unions in La Guajira for allegedly being members of guerrilla groups.  

Sintracarbón publicly contested this information, calling on “the authorities to take appropriate action to guarantee the lives and other inalienable rights of our threatened leaders” and “the public prosecutor to find out who has issued the threats and bring them before the courts”. It also called on managers at the Carbones del Cerrejón multinational company and other local employers to take measures to protect their lives and guarantee their right to continue with their trade union and civic activities. 

Sintracarbón has made it clear that it is only seeking improvements in the living conditions of its members, their families and communities affected by the mining company’s activities. “Our actions are always within the law and an expression of our right to carry out peaceful protests, join a union and conduct collective bargaining, as enshrined in the Colombian Constitution."

“The intelligence agencies must surely have investigated our work inside and outside the company. We do not have nor will we have any relationship with illegal groups," said the union.

The oil workers’ union, USO and Sintraelercol, which are also affiliated to IndustriALL and partners in  the project to form a single mining and energy sector union in Colombia, have expressed their solidarity by calling on the government to dismantle the paramilitary groups immediately, purge the security forces and guarantee the security of workers’ leaders. IndustriALL echoes these demands and again calls on the government to stop the persecution of trade unions.