Why was the Collective created?
On February 4, 2021, the companies of the Prodeco Group, a subsidiary of the Swiss transnational Glencore, announced the return of the mining titles and the closure of their mining operations (exploitations) in the “Calenturitas” and “La Jagua” mines in northern Colombia. A few weeks later, “Carbones del Cerrejón” began a process of reducing 450 jobs through what the company described as “voluntary retirement”. The multinationals alleged the unstable behavior of prices and the infeasibility of the business, increased by the global crisis resulting from the pandemic.
These decisions have accelerated a phenomenon that unions and civil society organizations in the Colombian departments of La Guajira and Cesar have been warning about for several years: the possible decline in coal mining activities in the region. Workers in the face of a probable economic and social earthquake have repeatedly demanded that dialogue tables be implemented with all the actors involved - Government, companies and workers - to generate routes and strategies that guarantee, in any scenario of changes, that acquired rights are respected in collective agreements and the labor commitments acquired by the companies are fulfilled.
Unions are alarmed by a withdrawal from Colombia of these large companies without reaching agreements with workers and communities, leaving behind thousands of families who earn their livelihood from the mine, hundreds of workers with health problems due to extractive work of coal and a region whose economic dependence is concentrated on mining. It is estimated that, for example, Prodeco moves around 40% of the GDP of the Cesar region and the multinational Carbones del Cerrejón, 43% of the economy of the department of La Guajira.
Given the serious labor and economic impacts that are already being felt, the workers' organizations, with the support of CNV Internationaal, decided to establish an autonomous union coordination space; the COLLECTIVE OF WORKERS FOR THE JUST TRANSITION.
What is the Collective's mission?
The group of workers seeks to minimize the negative impacts that these changes could generate on workers and their families and to ensure that labour rights are respected. In addition to becoming an essential voice that contributes to generating a transition that guarantees a sustainable present and future for the citizens of these regions.
Humanity is moving towards a reduction in carbon emissions, but the higher cost of that energy transition does not have to be paid by the workers of the sector and the communities that have hosted these mining operations, because government policies have always aimed for these regions to depend entirely on the extractive sector.
It is for this reason that the group
“Demands that the Colombian authorities assume their responsibilities for the defence of citizens affected by questionable, if not illegal, business decisions and asks the judicial authorities to act in favour of the defence of the fundamental rights of workers. The populations in La Guajira and El Cesar are on their own with no one to defend them."
Given the effects that the energy transition process is generating in Colombia, which includes the closure of mines or the paralysis of activities in the coal sector, the main mining unions decided to join together to ensure that labour human rights are guaranteed in a context of a fair social transition.
As a union, they are committed to achieving better living and working conditions for coal workers and their community, through promoting leadership and comprehensive training for workers; manage excellent health, safety and environmental conditions; strengthen unity and solidarity, creating spaces to settle differences; fight vehemently to defend the rights of workers, both locally and nationally, and manage the organization's resources with transparency and honesty.
Learn more about the work of this union by entering its page:
The Cerrejon Limited Workers' Union is one of the members of the collective, characterized by its struggle and commitment to and for the worker.
Learn more about the processes they carry out to achieve this through their contact form available at: https://twitter.com/Sintracerrejon2
This first degree and base Organization, according to the provisions of article 356 of the Substantive Labor Code, today article 40 of Law 50 of 1990 in Colombia, which operates in accordance with the National Constitution, the Substantive Labor Code, is composed of Workers who provide their services in the company DRUMMOND LTD., within the Colombian territory.
Get to know their testimonies and communications on their website:
The National Union of Workers, Sick and Disabled of the Mining Sector, since its inception has faced several legal battles raised by the Drummond company, thanks to its teamwork they have been victorious in most of them. Today they continue to denounce bad labor practices that occur in the company, as they work to improve the working conditions of their affiliates, through national and international actions, without neglecting the path of dialogue.
Learn more about the positions of this Union through its Twitter account:
The National Union of the mining, petrochemical, agrofuels and energy industries, is a first-degree organization made up of workers linked to industries in these sectors. Among its purposes is to"seek the rapprochement of the group of workers, on the basis of dialogue of mutual respect and collaborate in the improvement of peculiar methods of the respective activity and increase the general economy ”.
Learn more about their work at: