Colombian union leaders assaulted and fired by Prosegur
SINTRAVALORES, the security union of Prosegur workers in Colombia, reported that yesterday, one of their union leaders was physically assaulted and another dismissed.
Hector Fabio Bermeo, President of SINTRAVALORES in Neiva, Colombia, was punched in the mouth yesterday by Prosegur manager Isidro Gasca, head of security for the company in Neiva. The union reports that Gasca tried to provoke Bermeo. Being unable to provoke a response, that Gasca then punched him in the mouth. Bermeo went to the hospital and is now on an 8-day medical release.
This incident follows a series of allegations of harassing events from Prosegur earlier in the year. UNI raised these with Prosegur’s CEO, Christian Gut Revoredo and President, Helena Revoredo, in letters dated June 25 and August 4 and 26, 2014. The company did not respond.
On June 11, 2014, UNI was told that Gasca admitted that his wife, along with other unidentified harassers, had been deployed by the company to follow Bermeo in the street and to take photos of him.
Then, Gasca suspended Bermeo for 8 days after Bermeo told his colleagues that they did not have to cover up for unsafe armored vehicles by signing untrue statements. Additionally, Gasca is alleged to have falsely accused Bermeo of being an army deserter, in a country where that accusation places a person in harm’s way.
Also yesterday, Prosegur dismissed union representative Franklin Melendez, the union Treasurer in the Neiva branch. UNI was told that Prosegur held Melendez for three hours as the company repeatedly tried to convince him to resign from the union. When he refused, he was fired by the company on what appears to be a trumped up charge that he refused to change his worksite.
Yesterday’s assault and dismissal follow a sham investigation into allegations of human rights violations conducted by Juan-Luis Martín, Prosegur’s Director of Labor Relations. Although a written report has not been issued, Martin verbally told UNI representatives that no human rights violations were found in Colombia or Peru.
Prosegur is a company out of control. Ongoing reports continue of union activists in South America who are punished for exercising trade union rights. The international community expresses its outrage and demands accountability and an end to the abuse of workers.