Despite a shift in rhetoric by the Santos Administration, the reality on the ground for Colombian workers remains completely unacceptable, as was recognised by the European Parliament this month.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) therefore deplores the formal signing of the Free Trade Agreement between the Council of Ministers and the Colombian and Peruvian governments.
MEPs have called for a binding action plan on the improvement of labour and other human rights, and the European Trade Union Confederation calls for this to be undertaken before further hasty steps are taken.
In Colombia, union leaders and labour activists continue to be assassinated, threatened, and intimidated, and the perpetrators enjoy almost complete impunity. The appalling levels of violence negate in reality any promises for the free exercise of fundamental labour rights, including freedom of association. Tangible positive outcomes that allow unions to carry out their normal activities are needed so that the EU can conduct trade in line with its treaty obligations in respect of human rights.
ETUC letter on the proposed European Union Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and Peru