Workers Fired for Forming Trade Union in Colombia
News from Colombia |
on: Saturday, 16 August 2008
More than 50 workers employed by coal transportation company 'Carbosan Ltda' in the Colombian port city of Santa Marta have been sacked from their jobs after attempting to form a trade union. The employees, who work 12 hours a day for the company loading and unloading coal from ships, decided to create a union in an attempt to improve their working conditions.
Jorge Luis Franco, a leader of the effort to create the new union, explained that the workers work 12 hour days for seven days in a row, followed by 12 hour nights for seven days in a row, followed by another set of 12 hour days for week before having seven days off. "However, they are not paid for the week off, so in effect they work for 21 days in a row with no paid time off whatsoever".
Although the Colombian constitution allows workers to form trade unions in effect they are systematically denied this right – a situation that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has protested about on a number of occasions.