MAC: Mines and Communities

Mr. Garry Drummond, CEO

Published by MAC on 2004-05-01

Mr. Garry Drummond, CEO
Drummond Company, Inc.

Dear Mr. Drummond,

It has come to my attention that Drummond Company eliminated the safe air transport that had been provided for union negotiators to minimize the risks inherent in traveling from the negotiation site in Barranquilla to the mine site in La Loma. As you know, paramilitary
groups have suddenly and suspiciously increased their threats against union leaders, demanding that they leave the region. Your action suggests that you are acting in concert with paramilitary forces to deprive the workers of leadership during this period of negotiations.

Your action forces the union leaders to travel by land, running the risk of being disappeared or assassinated by paramilitaries. As you know, your refusal to provide security has had grisly consequences in the recent past, facilitating the torture and murder of Valmore Locarno, Victor Orcasita and Gustavo Soler. I am appalled that you continue to rely upon paramilitary violence to increase Drummond's profits at the expense of the workers and their families.

The mineworkers must work over 12 hours daily. At the end of their shifts, they must sleep in a region full of paramilitaries, running grave risks while your company acts with shocking indifference to the deadly peril they face. The workers have pled with you directly to let them stay in the Drummond complex overnight, where it is safer, but you have consistently rejected their pleas. At the same time, you grant this permission to foreigners and subcontractors.

Like many others, I am following the negotiations and the situation at La Loma very closely. I am aware that you have refused to negotiate in good faith, failing even to consider such issues as worker safety, medical care for injured workers, decent food, fair wages, and
security. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to take the following steps:

*Immediately restore safe air transport for the union leaders and take measures to protect the lives and physical integrity of the workers.

*Permit the workers to stay overnight in the mining complex.

*Desist from using the threat of paramilitary violence to affect the outcome of the negotiations.

*Negotiate in good faith and comply with Colombian labor law.


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