A labour law case in Colombia dating from 2004 is still causing suffering to trade unionists, and a court ruling has still not been applied. In 2004, the Municipal Enterprises of Cali (EMCALI) fired 51 workers because they belonged to the SINTRAEMCALI trade union. The union filed cases in Colombia's judicial system and the International Labour Organization (case 2356), both of which ruled in SINTRAEMCALI's favour. However, the union members have suffered both humanely and financially for defending their labour rights, with their President Jorge Ivan Velez Calvo receiving multiple death threats. Over 15 members of SINTRAEMCALI have been forced into exile, eight killed, and more than 100 threatened since the workers were fired in 2004. The lawyer in charge of their case was assassinated in May 2011. On 13 October 2011, the court ruled that the 51 workers who were fired on 26 May 2004 must be reinstated by EMCALI, but the company has refused to obey the court's rulings. The Colombian government, which is responsible for EMCALI because it is a public entity, has not enforced the ruling. This obstruction of justice led five of the 51 fired workers to commence a hunger strike on 5 December 2011 in the so-far vain hope that EMCALI will comply with the court ruling. In the photo, you can see the union leader visiting one of the hunger strikers.
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labourstart.org, Tues Mar 20 2012