fotos repercusiones de prensa   + info

With Hernán Correa

The conflict continues and the

security of workers is in danger


Since last January 13th, 185 workers of the firm Palo Alto Gnecco Espinosa – a business dealing with the harvest and processing of African palm in the Ciénaga region – have been occupying the establishment as a result of being laid off and following an attempt to clear them at gunpoint in response to their unionization. A new meeting was held yesterday at the Ministry of Labor. Sirel spoke with Hernán Correa, the acting chairman of SINTRAINAGRO, to get an insight of the encounter.


-What is your opinion on the meeting held yesterday at the Ministry of Labor?

-We were there with Luis Alejandro Pedraza, where he acted as representative of both the Single Confederation of Workers of Colombia (“CUT”) and IUF Latin America, along with the Vice-president of the National CUT agency, Gustavo Triana, with whom we made special mention of the need to have the Ministry intervene in an urgent and efficient manner.  


We tried to find out about the measures that will be taken to demand the company to acknowledge the Union, and to start negotiations, and particularly about the measures that will be decided to guarantee the physical security of workers that are currently occupying the establishment.  


Those workers have received threats from illegal armed groups and despite the police custody at the site, we fear that our fellow-workers are not safe there.


Also, we set up a meeting for Friday at Ciénaga to include representatives from the Ministry, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Police. At that meeting we will be discussing, apart from the conflict at the Palo Alto establishment, another situation that has become worrisome at Banacol (formerly owned by Chiquita Brands- Banadex), in the Urabá region.


-What are your expectations in regards to Friday’s meeting?

-The situation appears quite complicated, since this company has no respect for anything, or anyone, not even the government authorities. It is possible that the company representatives not even attend the meeting, since they are not interested in conversations with the government, let alone negotiating with the Union. But we will wait until the 29th to have a better outlook on the progress of this conflict and the actions that will be decided upon.


-What about the state of mind of the workers?

-Their morale is still high, but they need logistic and financial support to face the battle, because they have their families to support…


SINTRAINAGRO is giving a hand in this sense. A nationwide campaign is now under way to obtain help for these workers and their families as we await a negotiated solution for the conflict.



From Montevideo, Amalia Antúnez


February 9, 2010




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