Colombia: We are afraid, but we are not cowards
It has started growing. Quietly, and it will grow more and more. Colombia DHL workers begin to join a union.
On Sunday, February 2, in an atmosphere of contained excitement, the STPC Regional Board Bogota was created. This event, important in itself, constitutes history when we see that the President and other members of this regional board are DHL multinational workers.
"We've been through so many storms, so many frustrations, and so many fears. But we are here, creating unions in the logistics sector, encouraging DHL workers, telling them that they have our support. The Colombian union leaders have lived with fear and continue to have fear, but fear does not prevent us from standing by our convictions. We are afraid, but we are not cowards, "Dora Lilia Gomez, President of STPC, said excitedly. She thanked UNI and ITF for their hard work and support to organise the workers in DHL.
This fundamental step is taken a few days after the German National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (NCP) issued a joint statement agreed by UNI, ITF and Deutsche Post DHL. This joint statement addresses some key areas of the conflict and its purpose is to turn the page on UNI and ITF’s relationship with this important postal and logistics multinational.
In November 2012, ITF and UNI filed suit, alleging that DHL systematically denied workers their rights to freely form and join the unions of their choice.
The complaint was filed with the German government and was processed by the National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines, with headquarters in the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, with the participation of the Ministries of Labour and Justice.
After a preliminary investigation, in June 2013, the NCP accepted the demand with regard to five critical countries and requested the parties to engage in a mediation process.
"Words are not enough to express our admiration for this step you are taking. You are our heroes, you are creating a future for Colombia where joining a union is the right of every woman and every man in any workplace, "said Adriana Rosenzvaig, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas.
Stephen DeMatteo, Head of UNI Post & Logistics, said "We are extremely proud of the work carried out by STPC, breaking through by establishing a union in DHL Colombia. Their long struggle is an inspiration to logistics workers around the world, and UNI will continue to support them in this fight in the coming months".