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Action Alert: Colombian union leaders at Cerrejon coal mine in danger

Please find below an action alert from SINTRACARBON – the union of mine workers at the Cerrejon coal mine – where New Brunswick sources its coal. The union is negotiating a new contract with the mine and the lives of two of union reps have been threatened.

A few years ago, when the union was negotiating a contract with the Cerrejon mine, we got David Hay at NB Power to send a letter asking that the company to negotiate in good faith with the union. A number of organizations and unions across NB and Salem, Mass. also flooded them with letters.

Fredericton has a history of solidarity work with the Cerrejon workers and mine affected communities. Many of you met Jesus Brochero from SINTRACARBON when he visited us in Moncton and Fredericton in 2009. We also organized a fundraiser for the family of Adolfo Montes Gonzales, a union leader at the mine who was murdered in front of his family in 2008.


Trade union negotiators threatened

Colombian trade union leaders Igor Díaz López and Aldo Raúl Amaya Daza have received telephone death threats. Their lives are in danger.

Two trade union leaders have been threatened in La Guajira Department in north-east Colombia. Igor Díaz López’s wife received a call to her mobile phone on 10 January from a man who warned her that he knew what all her family were doing and where she and her daughters were going. Igor Díaz López is the president of the National Trade Union of Coal Industry Workers (Sindicato Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Industria de Carbón, SINTRACARBON). The union’s treasurer, Aldo Raúl Amaya Daza, received threatening phone calls on 6, 7 and 8 January. A man called his home in San Juan del Cesar and said, “Tell Amaya to be careful, because he is in our sights” (Dígale a Amaya que se cuide que lo tenemos en la mira). His family saw an armed man outside their home in the town of San Juan del Cesar, in the north-eastern department of La Guajira. The man eventually left the area, when the family came out of the house and neighbours alerted the police.

Igor Díaz López and Aldo Raúl Amaya Daza are part of the negotiating committee of SINTRACARBON. They have been negotiating a labour agreement with a coal company on behalf of the mine workers. On 19 January a first phase of the negotiation ended and workers are about to decide whether to go on strike. Trade unionists face repeated death threats during disputes over labour and attempts to get improved terms and conditions of employment. Paramilitaries have often made telephone death threats to trade unionists.

Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:
? Expressing concern for the safety of Igor Díaz López, Aldo Raúl Amaya Daza, their families and other members of SINTRACARBON.
? Demanding that the authorities provide protection for those threatened, as agreed with those in danger;
? Calling on them to order a full and impartial investigation into the threats against Igor Díaz López and Aldo Raúl Amaya Daza, publish the results and bring those responsible to justice.

Señor Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República, Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No.7–26,
Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: +57 1 596 0631 (keep trying)
Salutation: Dear President Santos/Excmo. Sr. Presidente Santos

Labour Minister
Rafael Pardo Rueda
Ministerio de Trabajo
Carrera 14, No.99–33
Bogotá, Colombia
Fax: +57 1 489 3900 ext 2320
Salutation: Dear Minister/Estimado Ministro

And copies to:
Calle 12A # 11-42


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Time February 17, 2013 at 2:13 pm

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