The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) today backed the national strike called by workers, unions and civil organisations in Colombia, to protest against corruption and government’s economic, social and anti-union policies that threaten Colombia’s working class.
The Colombian government has persisted with neoliberal economic policies focused on maximising profits at the expense of workers’ rights, while continuing to loot resources and increasing national debt and foreign debt.
Labour rights are being eliminated as corruption increases and multinationals corporations – particularly since Colombia signed the USA-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA) in 2016 – have increasing chosen to violate labour rights without restriction.
The Colombian people are resorting to strike action after the government has refused to hold any meaningful dialogue over a serious of issues including minimum wages, pensions, privatisation, corruption, tax reform, government compliance, energy prices and the right to protest free from restriction.
“Governments in Latin America must understand that they cannot continue their attempts to advance policy agendas that harm workers. The current protests in Latin America are not unconnected, the voices of the working class are rising and populations are demanding an end to injustice," said ITF president Paddy Crumlin.
“We are witnessing large mobilisations across the region, people are rejecting neoliberal policies that only benefit the few at the expense of millions of workers. The ITF and our affiliates send our solidarity to all Latin American transport workers demanding real change in favour of their labour rights,” said Crumlin.
ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton also commented on the planned strike action: “The Colombian government is refusing to listen to its own people. The ITF calls on the government to step back from its neoliberal policies and have a meaningful dialogue with the unions and civil society organisations to protect rather than threaten the social and economic security of its people,” said Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary.
“We fully support the actions of the Colombian people, and will continue to back their cause with solidarity from transport workers from around the world,” said Cotton.
Edgar Díaz, acting regional secretary added: "The ITF will always be fighting shoulder to shoulder with our affiliates in defence of human and labour rights."