Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2017, 15:16 GMT

2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Colombia

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 6 June 2013
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2013 Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights - Colombia, 6 June 2013, available at: [accessed 19 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Murder of trade unionists: At least 18 unionists where killed in Colombia and 359 received death threats in 2012.

In July 2012, Eder Tomás Cárdenas Chitiva, a union leader of SINDISPETROL, was murdered in the town of Paratebueno, Cundinamarca. He was part of a group of workers of the Spanish group Masa Acciona, who staged permanent assembly to press for the initiation of negotiations. According to union representatives, since the beginning of the permanent assembly, workers have begun to receive death threats from criminal armed groups.

Interference by employers and anti-union discrimination: The telecommunications giant, Claro, is well known for its union busting activities in Colombia. At Comcel, a branch of the conglomerate, there is no trade union. In Telmex-Colombia, also part of the Claro group, the union (SintraTelmex) has only 190 affiliated workers. Despite the fragile situation of SintraTelmex, the company has implemented a series of anti-union measures including the dismissals of union leaders.

After being ordered to reinstate workers unlawfully dismissed for creating a union, Fundación Universidad de Antioquia reinstated them in junior positions and separate from each other in the campus.

In March 2013, about 400 sugar workers affiliated to Sintrainagro declared a strike at the La Cabaña Mill, located in the Cauca region after the dismissal of about 100 union members and the murder of Juan Carlos Pérez, one of its most distinguished union leaders.

Refusal to bargain in good faith: When retail workers at Sodimac – a distributor of building materials – created a union (Sintrasodimac), the company immediately began a policy of harassment and also attempted to impose a parallel collective agreement to discourage union affiliations.

In the port of Buenaventura, Tecsa, a contractor of the Port Authority, refused to engage in negotiation with the union who demanded equal pay and the hiring of outsourced staff who had been for the company for over 5 years. Tecsa dismissed 117 outsourced workers who demanded to be hired directly. They were unionised and African-Colombians.

Collective agreements are disrespected: In the town of Pereira, in November 2012, six Multiservicios workers – a municipal company in liquidation – started a hunger strike to prevent the dismissal of 200 workers in violation of their collective agreement.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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