Colombia-strike Imminent At El CerrejonPublished by MAC on 2007-01-23
Source: JUNTA DIRECTIVA NACIONAL, SINTRACARBÓN
STRIKE IMMINENT AT EL CERREJON
JUNTA DIRECTIVA NACIONAL, SINTRACARBÓN
BOLETÍN DE PRENSA No.DPP044 -23-01-07
23rd January 2007
In spite of the Cerrejón mine's enormous profits in recent years, with the selling price of coal over $60 (USD) a ton, and with 28 million tons of coal in sales last year, the company has refused to come to a negotiated agreement with our union. During 45 days of negotiations the Sintracarbón negotiating committee has reiterated its desire to come to an agreement that would satisfy the workers' needs as expressed in our bargaining proposal.
Before the workers, the Guajira community, the Colombian people, and the international community, we wish to denounce the Cerrejón management's intransigence, arrogance, and lack of will to negotiate. If we find ourselves on the verge of a strike, Cerrejón alone is responsible for whatever consequences result from its enormous impact and magnitude. We also hold the company's negotiator Marcos Mejía Estrada responsible for this situation. His grotesque attitude and lack of will to negotiate, and the intransigent positions he constantly adhered to during the negotiating process, are what prevented us from arriving at an agreement. His actions are in large part responsible for the consequences of the work stoppage at Cerrejón.
During the entire negotiating period Cerrejón has said nothing but NO to the needs that our union has expressed.
• NO to a just and well-deserved wage increase for workers who spend 18 hours a day in the company's service, and who have seen their income fall as a result of Laws 50 and 789. As of now some 700 workers are virtually without economic resources, and receive only 100,000 pesos at the end of the month.
• NO to prepaid health benefits, saying that we should have to pay. They ignore the fact that our health problems do not come from our homes, they are a product and result of our work. And that they incur very high costs that we are now obligated to pay ourselves.
• NO to the issue of contracted and temporary workers. The company wants to continue exploiting these workers by paying them miserable wages, and violating their fundamental rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and union rights. The company uses the subcontracting system as an alternative to avoid directly employing workers.
• NO to educational benefits for workers' children. The privatization of the country's higher education system and the high costs of education make higher or university education impossible for our children.
• NO to the problems of the communities in the area of the Cerrejón coal complex. The company denies the environmental and socio-economic effects it has had on these communities of the living dead, which lack the minimal conditions necessary for survival. The company is violating their fundamental rights, including the right to collective negotiation as established by international law.
• NO to additional bonus days.
• NO to compensation for Law 789 losses
• NO to the peso-per-ton bonus
Faced with the unequivocal "no" from the Cerrejón company, Sintracarbón continued to demonstrate its desire to negotiate and to sign an acceptable collective bargaining agreement. But the company's intransigence and arrogance leaves us no alternative but a strike. Our union has the will, the capacity, and the strength to carry it out.
¡SI A LA HUELGA NOS LLEVAN A LA HUELGA NOS VAMOS!
¡POR NUESTRO JUSTO PLIEGO DE PETICIONES!
¡UNIDAD ORGANIZACIÓN Y LUCHA!