CIAMSA Refuses to Negotiate, Threatens Workers

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Union Portuaria is asking CIAMSA to stop breaking Colombian labor laws and consider its workers’ concerns.  CIAMSA has responded by threatening its workers with dismissal, suspending three employees who participated in protests and attempting to bribe others.  The company has refused to negotiate and continues to intimidate union members.

Union Portuaria Statement

Contact: Jhon Jhairo Castro (español)-  jhonja-2328@hotmail.com                                           Nate Pacho Miller (English)- pachointernational@gmail.com

Colombian Sugar Exporter Denies Freedom of Association to Afro-Colombian Workers, Unleashes a Campaign of Intimidation

On August 14, a group of employees at CIAMSA , a company that loads sugar  in the Port Society of Buenaventura, affiliated with Union Portuaria and presented a list of demands  to the company addressing dangerously long shifts, racial discrimination in hiring practices , poverty wages, and the illegal outsourcing of hundreds of workers.

In violation of Colombian law and international agreements, CIAMSA has refused to negotiate with its employees. Instead, the company has unleashed a campaign of intimidation and persecution targeting the workers who decided to unionize. Recently the company has taken retaliatory measures that punish, suspend, and pressure workers into disaffiliating from our organization. These actions contrast starkly with the company’s ethical commitments and have come at a time when Colombian sugar exports are earning record profits due to the growing value of the dollar.

Union Portuaria respectfully invites CIAMSA to sit down at the negotiating table. Our union is absolutely certainty that, through dialogue, we can find common ground and advance an agenda that supports dignified work, community development, democratic participation and safety (to borrow the words of the Director of the National Center for Historical Memory, Gonzalo Sanchez).

We call on the national government, the labor movement, human rights coalitions, and social/racial justice-oriented organizations to join us in this important fight to help put an end to our precarious social and labor conditions. .