New Report Says Worker Rights and Labor Action Plan Lag in Colombia

The AFL-CIO this week released a new report that says the Colombian government has failed to fully implement its Labor Action Plan.  The Plan was signed in April 2011 and paved the way for U.S. congressional approval of the Free Trade Agreement in October 2011, which was implemented, prematurely, in May 2012.

The report, The Colombian Action Plan Related to Labor Rights: The View through Workers’ Eyes, was released at a July 24 panel of Colombian and U.S. trade unionists and NGOs who spoke about the status of labor rights in Colombia since the FTA was implemented in May.

While recognizing that some progress has been made on the Labor Action Plan, signed by Presidents Obama and Santos in April 2011, very little has changed in terms of respect for the basic rights of workers in Colombia while violence against trade unionists remains the highest in the world.

Colombian members of the panel included Miguel Conde of the Sintrainagro agricultural workers union that represents palm oil workers, Jhonsson Torres of the sugarcane workers union Sinalcorteros, and Luciano Sanin, executive director of the Escuela Nacional Sindical (National Labor College).  

The report was presented by Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO trade policy specialist, joined by Gimena Sanchez of the Washington Office on Latin America.