Thursday, April 9, 2009

Colombian Union Activists Need Your Support

CALI, COLOMBIA: The Colombian government moved on 26 March to dissolve EMSIRVA, a city-owned waste disposal company, using riot police and soldiers to evict the workers from their workplace. Meanwhile, at EMCALI, the municipal utilities company, two union executives and four fired workers have begun a hunger strike to protest a government-appointed trustee's decision to fire still more union members.

Given that Colombian union activists are regularly murdered for their union activity, these sisters and brother are literally risking their lives. Sixteen activists with Cali's public sector unions have been killed since 2004, including union executive Carlos Alberto Chicaiza Betancourt.

The unions are asking for email and letters to Colombia's president and cabinet ministers. The government needs to know the world is watching. In the past international attention has proven effective in protecting activists from assassination.

Send a protest email to president Alvaro Uribe Velez HERE. A copy will go to the workers and their union.

Please pass this along to ALL your contacts.

BREAKING NEWS: Since 4 April the Colombian police and army have been occupying the University of El Valle in Cali. Students, faculty, workers and unions at the university are camped out at the university in opposition to privatization efforts. More to come on this from CUPE. Be sure to join and check the Colombia Solidarity group at UnionBook for an action alert.

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