USW Updates U.S. Secretary Of State Clinton On Status Of Drummond Miners In Colombia

Contacts: Dan Kovalik – 412 335-6442

(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today sent to Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton further information on the labor dispute in Colombia involving Drummond. In its letter to the Secretary dated September 17, 2009, the USW expressed concern for the fate of miners who went out on strike following a death of a contract employee of the company.

The USW, after conversations with Colombia union leaders, was initially apprehensive that Drummond would fire all of the workers for striking. The company did petition the Tribunal Superior de Valledupar, where a ruling was issued declaring the strike “illegal” and once confirmed by the Colombia Supreme Court, would permit Drummond the opportunity to dismiss all the workers. The company has since declared that it does not intend to fire all its workers, but it has dismissed five union workers and suspended four others,

It appears that the majority of the disciplined workers are leaders of Sintramienergetica, the union that represents the workers. The union fears that Drummond may still move to fire more of the striking workers.

In today’s letter the USW pointed out again that any discharge of striking workers and union leaders in retaliation for a strike over the death of a co-worker is both immoral and in contravention of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 – Conventions which Colombia has ratified. 

For the entire letter, please go here.

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