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Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide

IUF Demands Protection for Threatened SINALTRAINAL Leaders

Posted to the IUF website 07-Apr-2005

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On 28 March four local leaders of the SINALTRAINAL union in Barranquilla, Colombia, received death threats from the paramilitary group AUC.

The IUF has written to the Colombian government demanding an investigation into those responsible for the threat and full protection for the lives and trade union activities of the SINALTRAINAL unionists. The IUF continues to encourage its affiliates around the world to do the same as a result of the ongoing need for a massive global effort to protect the lives of trade unionists in Colombia.

The IUF has also raised the case as a matter of urgency with the Coca-Cola Company, who have given assurances that they are in daily contact with their Colombian bottler FEMSA to ensure that everything possible is done to provide continued security to workers and union leaders within Coca-Cola bottling facilities, particularly in view of these most recent threats.

The IUF's letter to the Colombian government reads:

On 28 March 2005 workers arriving at the SINALTRAINAL office in the city of Barranquilla found an envelope containing a communication dated 25 March from the paramilitary AUC. It was signed by the Bananero Block of the Atlantic Coast AUC, which stated that as part of a so-called �final operation� the following union leaders had been declared military targets: OSVALDO CARMARGO, EURIPIDES YANCE, RAMON CAMARGO and GERMAN CATA�O. Those named are workers at Coca-Cola bottling plants in Barranquilla and Santa Marta, and leaders of SINALTRAINAL.

We demand respect for the lives of these unionists. We also ask that the government of Colombia investigate those responsible for these threats, and provide all the guarantees necessary so that the right to trade union activity is fully protected.

Ron Oswald, General Secretary