February 12, 2012
Washington, D.C.—Nearly one year after President Barack Obama declared the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan (LAP) to be a “success” and implemented a bilateral trade agreement, labor rights are deteriorating in Colombia. As part of a delegation hosted by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), Colombian Senator Alexander López Maya and union leaders will be meeting with U.S. Congress, government institutions, and union leaders to demand the protection of labor rights, the implementation of the LAP, and the enforcement of existing labor laws in Colombia.
“Threats and harassment of union leaders continue to rise, and investigations of anti-union violence lead nowhere,”said Senator Alexander López Maya, who closely follows the FTA and the LAP in the Colombian Senate. “Despite promises to protect trade unionists, Colombia continues to have a deplorable labor rights record.”
In an effort to undercut union activity, companies are employing their workers through third party subcontractors in violation of both the LAP and Colombian law. According to Colombia’s port workers’ union (Unión Portuaria), over 80 percent of port workers are employed through third parties, effectively depriving them of union protections.
“Changes in Colombia have been merely cosmetic in nature and continue to lack meaningful implementation with real results,” said Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, Senior Associate for the Andes at WOLA. “The United States should take action to reduce anti-union violence and guarantee direct contracting, as promised in the LAP.”
Communications Director, WOLA
Tel: (202) 797-2171
Cell: (617) 584 1713