Colombian labour unions set to intensify the ongoing National Strike on November 27
The Unitary Central of Workers (CUT) has just tweeted, “We have decided to reinforce and raise the protest and citizen mobilization, continuing the #ParoNacional with greater intensity for Wednesday, November 27.”
Elías Fonseca, a member of the CUT executive, says, “Tomorrow, November 27, we are going to make another national strike across the country along with large mobilization days to demand that the Government negotiate the ‘package’ that we have indicated as the causes that have ignited this social protest.”
Reuters reports, “Colombian unions and student groups will hold another protest on Wednesday in honour of a teenage demonstrator [Dilan Cruz] who died after being injured by a tear gas canister, after an initial strike last week sparked days of marches.”
That article highlights, “The committee said in a statement early on Tuesday it would demand ‘a permanent negotiation until the agenda for which the Nov. 21 strike was called is resolved’ in a meeting with President Ivan Duque.”
Along with the Unitary Central of Workers (CUT), the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), the Confederation of Colombian Workers (CTC) and the teachers’ union FECODE are key organizers of this national strike.
Prior to the initial National Strike day on November 21 (of which an estimated 1 million people took part), the Bogota Post reported, “Over 40 workers’ unions will strike tomorrow, along with peace activists, women’s rights groups, student campaigners, indigenous groups, environmental organisations and of course ordinary people.”
The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has posted, “Social and peaceful protest is a human right, above all, disproportionate repressions cannot be justified against the civilian population, we ask for guarantees and respect for life.”
Following the death of 18-year-old student Dilan Cruz, PBI-Colombia also commented, “We regret the death of the young Dilan Cruz who in the exercise of his right to social protest to claim his rights was the victim of a violent attack Violence can never be justified or used to resolve conflicts Solidarity and love for his family.”
The reasons for the national strike
Reuters notes, “The strike committee said it would ask Duque to shut down the ESMAD and ‘purify’ the police [after the riot police fired a tear gas canister that killed Dilan Cruz at one of the national strike protests]. …It will also demand that the government’s tax reform proposal, which includes a cut in duties on businesses, be rejected.”
The Bogota Post has also reported, “One trigger for Colombia’s national strike was a proposal from the national association of financial institutions (ANIF) to pay young people 75% of the minimum wage. Another was a proposal by former president Uribe – who supported Duque in his presidential campaign – to reduce the working week, which could also impact people’s pensions. And a third was the possibility to increase pension contributions and change the way Colpensiones [the Colombian Pension Administrator] works. The government has denied it has plans to implement any of these proposals.”
The numerous other reasons for the national strike include the murder of human rights defenders (738 social leaders have been killed since January 2016), ongoing violence against Indigenous peoples (135 indigenous people have been killed since Duque became president in August 2018), the failure to implement the peace agreement, and a recent military airstrike that killed eight children.
A fuller list of the multiple reasons behind the ongoing national strike can be read in this Colombia Reports article.
To follow on Twitter, you can search these hashtags: #ElParoSigue #ParoNacional #DilanCruz #ParoNacionalColombia #HuelgaGeneral #ParoNacionalIndefinido