3,500 workers dismissed by Dole

Statement by CUT - Rel-UITA


Dozens of unions have subscribed the following joint statement  strongly refusing the dismissals.


We oppose the mass layoff of workers from the flower plantations of Dole transnational corporation


 Last October 12, Dole Fresh Flowers announced its plans to layoff more than 3,500 people and close both Splendor el Corzo, its largest plantation, and Porcelain Flowers in Colombia, as well as its estates in Ecuador. That same day, the company requested authorization from the Ministry of Social Protection to carry out the announced mass layoff, and immediately launched a campaign in all its flower plantations aimed at convincing workers to retire voluntarily, baiting them with a 15 percent increase of the compensation they are legally entitled to.


John Amaya, president of this section of Dole Food, argued that international competition had pushed prices down and that it demanded greater productivity from the plantations.


To the signers of this declaration it is clear that Dole’s decision will mean greater exploitation for the workers in the savanna of Bogotá, and increasing pressure on the engineers and administrative staff. The goal of the transnational corporation is to boost its profits at the expense of greater sacrifices and efforts on the part of its workers. John Amaya himself admitted that hurling these families into unemployment and hunger will raise the company’s cash flow by 35 million dollars a year.


The laid off workers will be replaced by imposing an excessive productivity on those who continue working for the consortium. Dole’s “solutions” are already being used by the other floriculturists to pressure their employees, heralding an unrestrained race to reduce labor costs, thus accelerating the already impossible work pace and multiplying the subcontracting and outsourcing schemes that are pervading the sector.


This deplorable decision by the US conglomerate lays bare the sham that lies behind the official policy which claims Colombia is heading towards progress, employment and the end of poverty by granting all sorts of advantages to foreign investment and, in particular, to the export sector. The flower industry is proving just the opposite: the huge profits reaped by the magnates are supported by the overexploitation of labor and the enjoyment of all kinds of privileges, such as national and local tax exemptions, and by the tolerance that allows them to infringe even the most basic labor and environmental laws.


We emphatically oppose Dole’s measure, which amounts to the most outrageous act in its already long line of abuses, the worst of which are the tricks aimed at preventing workers from organizing and presenting their demands. We demand that the El Corzo and Porcelain plantations be kept in operation and that stability be guaranteed for all their workers.


The government, through the Ministry of Social Protection, has the power to prevent the transnational corporation from succeeding in its appalling goal. Therefore, we demand that they deny the authorization of the closures of Splendor El Corzo and Porcelain Flowers.


We call on all the workers and technical and administrative personnel of the Dole group plantations not to accept any retirement plan, and summon the labor and social movements, the clergy, local administrations, political, civic and community leaders of the Bogotá savanna to form a united front against the closure of the plantations and in defense of the workers’ rights and of the agreements that were executed with the municipalities and have now been unilaterally abandoned by the floriculturists.




Hernán Correa Miranda                                            Gerardo Iglesias

United Worker’s Federation President – CUT               REL – UITA Regional Secretary




Signing organizations


National Agro-Food Union of Colombia - UNAC, National Union of Agroindustry Workers - Sintrainagro, National Flower Industry Union of Colombia - Sinaltraflor, National Beverage Workers Union of Colombia - SINALTRAINBEC, Huila Agriculture Association, Caquetá Agro-food and Livestock Association, Colombian Association of Small Producers of Banana and Agricultural Products - Ascolpas, “Semillas” Community Association, Association of Agroecological Producers - Agrosolidaria, Agro-food and Livestock Association of Córdoba, Association of Organic Farmers “Colombia sin Hambre”, National Union of Workers of the Beverage Industry: Beer; Malt; Juice; Soft Drink; Water and Soda of Colombia - SICO, Cundinamarca Workers’ Federation – Utracun, Agro-food and Livestock Association of the Province of Tequendama, UNAC Regional Federations of Antioquia, Caquetá, Cundinamarca, Boyacá, Huila, Valle, Córdoba and Magdalena, Sintraplastilene, Sintraeliot, Sintralpina, Sintrapatel, Sintrastanton, Sintrametacol, Sintrafritolay of Colombia, Sintralvilla, Sintraindustrial de Cereales, Fiberglass Colombia, Ladrillos Tejas y Pisos Moore, Trade Unions of Corabastos, Mixed Union of Workers of Soacha, Official Workers’ Union of Zipaquirá



10 de noviembre de 2006


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