Allegations of anti-union activities by Glencore, Unión Fenosa in Colombia, Aug 2007

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Glencore to respond to the following 2 articles, and Unión Fenosa to respond to the first.

Glencore response [DOC]

Unión Fenosa response (only available in Spanish) [DOC]

The original articles are in Spanish. The following summary translations in English are provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

1. "Colombia: Sintracarbón denounces anti-union activities of Unión Fenosa and Glencore", Sintracarbón, 14 August 2007

Colombia’s national coal-workers’ union Sintracarbón denounces the unfair dismissal of 120 workers from the Hierbabuena mine, licensed to Glencore and operated by Consorcio Minero Unido (CMU) and the sub-contractor Operadores Mineros del Cesar (OMC).

These arbitrary dismissals are a result of the Sintraminergetica-Becerril workers forming a union and submitting a list of petitions to the company several months ago – petitions that have been ignored.  The company submitted a dismissal notice to the 120 workers and denied them access to the mine.

Once again we witness Glencore denying fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, rights which are also currently being denied to workers at Glencore’s coal port in Cienaga.

We also condemn the two assassination attempts against Alberto Bautista, Vicepresident of the Becerril branch of Sintracarbon.

Sintracarbón also condemns the persecution, threats and invasion of private property suffered by Ruben Castro, a member of Sintraelecol’s national directorate and employee of Electrocosta, a Unión Fenosa subsidiary.  Ruben Castro arrived home to find the door unlocked and his belongings scattered over the floor.  Nothing of value had been taken, but union-related documents had.  Unión Fenosa also denies workers’ freedom to organize, to the point at which it has formed a workers' committee in order to prevent Sintraelecol from being seen as the true representative of energy sector workers.

2. "Congressmen from the Polo Democrático party denounce the dismissal of 120 Glencore workers", Polo Democrático, 2 August 2007

Senators and representatives from Polo Democrático Alternativo have denounced the arbitrary dismissal of 120 workers from the Hierbabuena mine, in La Jagua de Ibirico, Cesar, for joining the Sintramienergetica union.  Through this unnecessary mass dismissal, the mine is also attempting to avoid negotiation of a list of petitions submitted by the union.

Hierbabuena is licensed to Glencore and operated by Consorcio Minero Unido (CMU) and the sub-contractor Operadores Mineros del Cesar (OMC).

The company did not only dismiss the workers, but also called in members of the armed forces and armed private security guards to prevent the workers from entering the mine.

The Polo Democrático congressmen said that Álvaro Uribe’s government has been permissive towards repeated abuses committed by coal multinationals against national interests and workers’ rights. 

They said two attacks have been carried out against Alberto Bautista, vicepresident of Sintracarbón’s Becerril section, in the six months since the union was formed and the list of petitions submitted.

They called on Colombian citizens to reject these abuses and express solidarity with the dismissed workers.

Jaime Dussán Calderón, Senator
Germán Navas Talero, Representative to the Chamber

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