From November 22 to 27, UNI Americas held the Labor Reform Forum in the cities of Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Bogota, with the participation of more than 500 union leaders from over 110 unions, and with the presence of the central trade union confederations and government representatives.
The purpose of these meetings was to debate and reflect on the current situation of working people in Colombia, the role of the union movement in this process, and the challenges they face regarding the changes proposed by the Labor Reform bill, which was filed last Friday, November 24, before the Seventh Commission of the Senate.
Recently, President Gustavo Petro has ordered the Ministry of Labor to build an army of union organizers, and empower unions in Colombia and throughout the region, something that we fully support and, as UNI, that we are already implementing. “Unions are social actors and agents of change. In order to campaign for union growth, we must support a reform that strengthens organization, and the centrals have assumed a commitment to carry out this debate on the proposed Labor Reform,” said Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas.
The main objective of the Labor Reform is to modernize labor laws, but it also seeks to ensure that all workers have better working conditions, through formalization and access to indefinite term contracts, in addition to establishing clear rules regarding outsourcing.
“If anyone has known how to fight in the midst of adversity, it has been the union movement, there is no stronger movement,” said the Colombian Vice Minister of Labor Relations and Inspection, Edwin Palma. “The unions have a great task to renew the collective bargaining agreements and put at the center of the discussions the elimination of violence and harassment”.
In this regard, the Congresswoman and Rapporteur Coordinator of the Reform, Mafe Carrascal, added: “We have already committed ourselves to the Convention 190 of the International Labor Organization from the Congress of the Republic, this is one of our goals, together with the women who are part of the centrals that have allowed us to accompany them along the way. This and other agreements must be ratified.”
“Today we have the possibility to continue mobilizing. Workers organized and in the streets are key to what happens in Congress,” she concluded.