Editor’s note: NB Power buys coal from the Cerrejón coal mine. The coal is burned in Belledune.
Once again, a company has taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to attack workers’ rights.
This time, it’s coal miners in Colombia who have had to go on strike.
Workers at the Cerrejón coal mine are in the middle of bitter dispute with three multinational mining companies, Anglo American, BHP and Glencore.
When the pandemic broke out back in February the union, in good faith, withdrew its list of demands and suspended collective bargaining negotiations.
When negotiations resumed in July, the company refused to respond to the union proposals, and instead demanded concessions in rights and benefits. Then the company unilaterally announced a radical shift change roster, without consulting the union and in violation of Colombian law. The new shift roster, which workers call the ‘death shift’ will lead to the loss of 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, will require workers to work an additional 72 days a year for the same wage, will cause turmoil in workers’ family lives and will lead to an increase in fatigue and thus an increase in accidents. The company has boycotted the government labour ministry’s facilitation to end the strike, now in its fourth week.
The union in Colombia and IndustriALL global union have a launched an online campaign on LabourStart in support of the miners. Please take a moment to show your support – click here.
And please don’t forget our campaign in support of miners in Ukraine, who have taken their fight for justice underground – into the mines. Learn more and show your support here.
Please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.