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Fight For Trade Union Rights In Colombia
There are many companies in Colombia who use violence and repression to try and stop trade union activists. 184 trade unionists were assassinated in Colombia last year, more than the rest of the world combined.
Sinaltrainal (the National Union of Workers in the Colombian Food Industry), has appealed for support from workers around the world and called for a boycott of Coca-Cola from 22 July.
A private army of paramilitaries has terrorised the workforce and tried to smash the union. They have so far assassinated eight workers who were local union leaders and three union members have been forced into exile. Over 60 live under the shadow of death threats and 48 others have been displaced.
Sinaltrainal union president, Javier Correa, describes conditions in Coca-Cola's Colombian bottling plants: "The paramilitaries have graffitied threats and accusations against us on the walls of the bottling plants.
These plants have become like concentration camps. The army patrols the buildings. There is so much repression that union workers are even followed into the toilet. One worker killed himself. In his suicide note he blamed Coca-Cola".
And he explains the corporation's attitude:
"Coca-Cola has turned from a time of exploitation to a time of slavery. Because the workers continue to resist this oppression the paramilitaries now try to kidnap family members.
"They've burnt union headquarters and destroyed whatever evidence they can so we are unable to bring a case against them."
ISR members and supporters will be holding protests on 22 July in support of trade union rights for the Coca-Cola workers and all workers across Colombia who face similar repression.
- Join the international day of action on 22 July, join your local protest or action.
- From 22 July tell your friends to boycott Coca-Cola
If you are a member of a trade union, ask your local branch to sponsor the campaign in solidarity with Sinaltrainal and other Colombian unions attacked by the paramilitaries (contact us for model letters or resolutions to take to trade unions)
Whether you are in a workplace, school or college, ask your friends, people at work etc to sign the petition in support of the Colombian Coca-Cola workers.
Send copies to us and we will send all the signatures collected with a letter of support to the Sinaltrainal Coca-Cola workers.
Organise a meeting at your union/college/school in support of Colombian workers with an ISR speaker or contact the Colombian Solidarity Campaign, PO Box 8446, London N17 6NZ
Meet at the Clocktower, Leicester city centre at 12.30pm.
ISR meeting - How the Coca-Cola day of action went. Planning for future actions. 7pm Secular Hall, Humberstone Gate.
Protest outside Coca-Cola HQ (1 Queen Caroline St, Hammersmith, London, W6 - nearest tube Hammersmith) at 4pm. Then join other protests in Piccadilly Circus.
Meet at central library, St Peters Sq at 11am. Longsight market at 12.30pm.
Protest outside Granada Studios at 3pm. - Granada's football coverage is sponsored by Coca-Cola. Contact Rob Jones: 07739 010 208.
Contact Sarah 0781 6869382 for details of protests.
There will be more protests and actions taking place around the country. To find out what's happening in your area or if you want help in organising your own protest, please contact ISR on 020 8558 7947.
In The Socialist 19 July 2003:
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