Europe’s public service unions criticize EU Colombia Free Trade Agreement:

no progress made to stop killing of unionists

The Congress of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) voted a resolution deploring the fact that Colombia was the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist in 2009. 3 years later and despite a change of the Columbian Government it remains the most dangerous country for trade unionists.

While the rhetoric of the Santos Administration changed, the reality on the ground for Colombian workers remains completely unacceptable. This was also recognized by the European Parliament earlier this month. EPSU therefore deplores the formal signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the Council of Ministers and the Colombian and Peruvian governments. MEPs have called for a binding action plan on the improvement of labour and other human rights. It is not part of the Free Trade agreement. We regret that the Commission and Member States prefer free market policies over a dedicated fight for human rights. Columbian workers are not more protected when exercising their universal rights as laid down in ILO, UN and EU Treaties with this new Treaty.

In Colombia, union leaders and labour activists continue to be assassinated, threatened, and intimidated, and the perpetrators enjoy almost complete impunity. There continues to be a systematic exclusion of workers and trade unions of their basic rights. Labour law and social policy continue to undermine the free exercise of fundamental labour rights, including freedom of association. As a result, fewer than 5% of Colombian workers are members of a union today and fewer than 2% of workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

EPSU deplores the speed in which the European Union takes economic decisions favouring the interests of global multinationals and the slackness to condemn attacks on trade unionists.

no progress made to stop killing of unionists EPSU Congressresolution Survey of ITUC onColumbia