Colombia remains the most dangerous country in the world to be an active trade unionist with murders and kidnapping of trade union activitists a permanent feature of the Colombian labour scene. The IUF continues to fight alongside the world’s labour movement for an end to the appalling and brutal violence taking place daily in that country.
However even as violence and the threat of civil war in Colombia escalates, IUF-affiliated unions continue to effectively represent their members in collective bargaining in the beverages sector.
SINALTRAINBEC (National Union of Workers in the Beverage Industry of Colombia) successfully concluded negotiations with a local soft drink company Gaseosas Colombia S.A. on 26 January 2002, winning a wage increase equal to the rate of inflation, improved educational and other benefits, and improved union rights. SINALTRAINBEC is one of the unions also representing Coca Cola workers in Colombia.
At the union’s request, the IUF Regional Secretariat and the general secretariat both sent messages of concern and protest to the company president.
Coke Carepa negotiations – strike threat looms
Negotiations continue at the Carepa Coke bottling plant in the province of Urabá, where the workers are represented by IUF affiliate SICO (a union of beer and soft drinks workers). Although agreement was quickly reached on many economic items, the issue of excessive short-term employment contracts is holding up a settlement. The union membership has authorized a strike if the Coke franchise (Bebidas y Alimentos de Urabá) does not agree to create more permanent positions in place of precarious employment.