Carrefour Colombia workers set to make historic vote for union representation

Friday 24 February 2012, 09am

  • UNI Global Union applauds Carrefour workers for having courage to join union and stand for office
  • UNI and Carrefour's global agreement laid foundation for union vote in Columbia
  • Collective bargaining process with Carrefour expected to begin next month

Nyon, Switzerland, 23 February 2012 – Friday stands to be an historic day for thousands of Carrefour Colombia workers who will be participating in a nationwide vote for union representation in one of the leading Colombian supermarkets.

UNI Global Union launched a major organising drive in Carrefour in 2011. Thousands of workers have been signed up and now the time has come for the election of union representatives to take place.

“UNI and Carrefour, locally and globally, have made substantial efforts to ensure that the vote takes place free from any intimidation,” said UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings. “Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist with over 2800 dead in the last two decades. In this climate we can only admire the raw courage of workers who are prepared to join a union and stand for office.”

The UNI Americas region has set out to change the culture of labour relations in Colombia. In November 2011 a forum of key employers and UNI affiliates was held in Bogota with the aim of beginning a course of change.
UNI and Carrefour have a global agreement and this constructive relationship has laid the foundation for the vote in Colombia.

“Free and fair union elections at Carrefour can set a new standard in Colombia for multinational and local employers to respect worker and human rights and break from the country’s violent history of attacks on trade unionists,” said UNI Americas Regional Secretary Adriana Rosenzvaig. She will lead a delegation in Colombia that will observe the elections and ensure they are carried out fairly.

Union elections will take place in 50 stores in 20 cities across Colombia on Friday, February 24.
“This is a key development for our global action in commerce,” said Head of UNI Commerce Global Union Alke Boessiger. “We work with companies to ensure that basic standards are respected on the ground. This is a very good exercise of practical cooperation in action and we want this spirit to be translated into every workplace in Carrefour Colombia.”

The workers’ representatives elected on Friday are expected to start the collective bargaining process with Carrefour management in early March.

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