WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
21 Jul 2017 | Commentary

WOLA Urges Labor Minister to Protect Unionist and Make Advancements in High Profile Labor Cases

In a letter to Labor Minister Griselda Restrepo, WOLA urged the Minister to continue working towards the reduction of violence towards unionist. The letter, which highlights improvements made by Colombia since the adoption of the Labor Action Plan, also points to concerns over a 31% increase in violence towards labor unions from 2015 to 2016 and the murder of a least eight union members in 2017.

The letter also points to three specific labor related cases that WOLA will be closely examining. They are:

  1. Upholding and implementing the 12 commitments on labor issues negotiated between the Ministry of Labor and the Buenaventura civic strike committee on June 4. A high profile visit by the Minister to Buenaventura to meet with port workers and unions to reinforce their just claims is highly recommended. WOLA serves as an international guarantor to the Buenaventura civic strike agreements.
  2. Taking swift action to reinstate or compensate seventeen port workers in Cartagena’s port society dismissed after joining the Port Union (UP). According to the UP, the seventeen workers became members of the union due to growing salary inconformity, extensive work hours, non-existent break times, and frequent arbitrary firings of personnel who stated complaints about the poor labor standards.
  3. A catastrophic building collapse in Cartagena left 18 and more than 23 injured. WOLA hopes that the Ministry of Labor will honor injured workers and families of the deceased by guaranteeing that they are compensated for the damages and by tightening work condition regulations for high risk manual labor throughout the country.

To read the letter click here