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Colombia’s dubious strategy to push through an FTA with the European Union

ITUC | 12 December 2009

Colombia’s dubious strategy to push through an FTA with the European Union

Brussels, 09 December 2009 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC is appalled at the strategy used by the Colombian government to discredit the ITUC Colombian affiliates – CUT, CGT and CTC – and the National Trade Union School by sending incendiary information from a completely unrepresentative trade union to European Union Members of Parliament.

This is not the first time the Colombian government has accused trade union militants and leaders of being sympathizers of terrorism or of being associated with terrorists when they speak about the situation of human and trade union rights in their country or oppose the continuation of the FTA negotiations with the European Union, the US, Canada or EFTA.

It would seem that in its speed to conclude the negotiations of the FTA agreement, the Colombian government is not prepared to recognise that Colombian civil society organisations, including all three Colombian trade union confederations, who legitimately represent the real aspirations of working people, are clearly opposed to the proposed agreement. The CUT, CGT and CTC issued a joint statement on their position vis-à vis the FTA on 19 May 2009 .

If the Colombian government is, as it claims, committed to a social dialogue, this is a poor way of showing it. Questioning the legitimacy of the national trade union centres and insulting the intelligence of MEPs by circulating slanderous accusations from unrepresentative unions to push through an undemocratic agenda is not what is needed to build trust and engage in the solid social dialogue to which the ITUC’s affiliates remain committed in their permanent efforts to improve the conditions of the people of Colombia.

The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 311 national affiliates.

 source: ITUC