On the 16th of July, miners at the Drummond coal mine located in northern Colombia declared a strike, effectively paralyzing both the mine and the port used for transporting coal from Colombia around the world. The union, Sintramienergetica, believes that the company had not been negotiating in good faith. Workers across Colombia have heard the call of the Drummond workers and are watching the situation closely. In Colombia, union activity in general faces a special situation whereby the most basic of actions, like union organizing, are often met with threats and assassinations. The bravery of the Drummond workers to strike under the conditions in Colombia must be supported nationally and internationally.
Sintramienergetica has made the call for URGENT international support.
We include a link to a brief Reuters article on the strike [http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKN1729878520080717] as well as statements from the International Labour Rights Forum and Colombian Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo.
Included below are also the addresses and fax numbers of the US company and its Colombian subsidiary. Please write and fax them. Let them know that WE ARE ALL WATCHING THE SITUATION CLOSELY!
La Chiva Collective, Canada.
From the International Labour Rights Forum:
As you may have heard, workers at the Drummond coal mine in Colombia are currently on strike. Their union has called for international support at this time.
Attached please find the urgent action letter that ILRF will send today and the call for action from the union. We encourage you to send similar letters. Contact information is below as well as a brief Reuters article on the strike.
Thank you for your time and please feel free to contact us for more information. Feel free to circulate this call to other organizations who might be interested.
International Labor Rights Forum
July 17, 2008
DRUMMOND LTD. COL.
AUGUSTO JIMENEZ MEJIA
Calle 72 No. 10 – 07 Of. 1302
FAX: 011 571 – 210 2054
DRUMMOND COMPANY INC
P.O. Box 10246
Birmingham, Alabama 35202
Dear Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Drummond,
We are writing to express our concern about the labor conflict at Drummond Ltd. in Colombia. We understand that on July 16 the Sintramienergetica union declared a strike at both the mine and the port, because they feel that your company has not negotiated the new CBA in good faith.
The International Labor Rights Forum continues to be deeply concerned about anti-union violence in Colombia and we are following this particular situation closely.
We hope that you will do everything possible to ensure a peaceful resolution to this conflict, and that when you return to the negotiation table you do so ready to negotiate in good faith.
CC: Ministerio del Interior y de Justicia
Ministerio de la Protección Social
Ministerio de Minas y Energia
Procuraduría General de la Nación
Fiscal Dr. Mario Iguaran
ILO Representative in Colombia
Defensor del Pueblo
Press release IN SUPPORT OF THE DRUMMOND WORKERS' DEMANDS Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo
Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo expressed his complete support for the strike begun yesterday, July 16 at 5:50 p.m., by the workers of La Loma, Cesar and the Port of Cienaga, Magdalena, the coal mines run by the U.S. company Drummond. The work stoppage occurred because the corporation refuses to address the demands that Sintramienergetica filed in accordance with the law and it can be resolved with the signing of the new collective bargaining agreement.
In the petition submitted to the second largest mining company in Colombia, the workers demand: labor stability, a change in the situation of workers hired through different types of subcontracting, compliance with regulations concerning industrial safety and worker health as required by law and by the Constitution --regulations which the company repeatedly abuses, causing serious damage to the health of workers--, a wage increase greater than the rate of inflation and an increase in the company's insignificant social investment in their zones of influence.
Senator Robledo, after judging the workers' demands to be fair and democratic, explained how Drummond, with very high profits, in 2007 mined 22.9 million tons of coal for 1.15 billion dollars and how in last three years the price of a ton of coal has gone from 25 dollars to more than 100 dollars with costs of production that do not exceed 20 dollars. It's completely unjustifiable that the U.S. company, with excellent economic conditions, does not compensate their workers or the corresponding communities fairly or provide sufficient social investment, when it's undeniable that in these mining operations they obtain large profits, while the nation that owns the resources receives only a few crumbs of the pie.
Senator Jorge Enrique Robledo
Bogotá, July 17, 2008