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Cablegate: Usg Funded Labor Projects

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #4527/01 3572014
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 222014Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6243
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 8567
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 1450
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC 9842
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 6844
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA PRIORITY 2805
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 7546
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4740
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 004527

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL ECON SOCI CO
SUBJECT: USG FUNDED LABOR PROJECTS

1. (U) Summary: The U.S. Government supports the labor
sector through eleven projects, including: one by the Bureau
of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), three by the
Department of Labor (DOL), and seven by USAID. The $27
million in funding over the 2001-2011 time frame support
projects that address issues related to labor rights,
training, and child labor eradication and protection. Almost
all funds are given to institutions that support labor in
Colombia such as the International Labor Organization (ILO),
the AFL-CIO Affiliated Solidarity Center, and the GOC's
Ministry of Social Protection. End summary.

--------------------------------------------- ----
Promoting Fundamental Principles and Labor Rights
--------------------------------------------- ----
2. (U) DRL is funding $505,000 for this project to promote
fundamental principles and labor rights, to be implemented
between September 2008-September 2009. The funding will
support the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Bogota,
which opened in January 2007 at the recommendation of the ILO
and in consultation with the GOC, labor unions, and industry
groups (the "tripartite"). This project will strengthen
tripartite social dialogue through existing ILO commissions
and committees, foster a judicial system equipped to address
violations of labor standards through targeted training for
judges, and contribute to conflict resolution and collective
bargaining through intensive training in 30 pilot enterprises
in key sectors.

--------------------------------------------- -
Enhancing Skills of Colombian Trade Unionists
--------------------------------------------- -
3. (U) DOL's $1.25 million unionist training project began
on September 30, 2008. It is scheduled to last through 2010.
Goals include improving the skills of Colombian trade union
leaders in labor-management relations, trade union
administration, collective bargaining, dispute prevention and
resolution, and communications so leaders can adapt and
replicate the training to reach a broad group of Colombian
unionists. Trainees will participate in U.S. exchanges,
visit unionized workplaces and receive training in use of
social dialogue, interest-based bargaining, mediation and
arbitration.

---------------------------------------------
Combating Exploitative Child Labor Through Education
---------------------------------------------
4. (U) DOL is funding two projects to combat exploitative
child labor in Colombia. First, a $5 million project to
support Colombia's National Strategy for the Elimination of
Child Labor via after-school programs designed to benefit
10,200 at-risk children. This program started in September
2007 and is set to end in December, 2010. Another grant from
DOL for $3.5 million addresses the same issue--and will
provide awareness and detection training to community
leaders, school teachers, and local government offices. This
program started in September 2004 and ended December, 2008.
The program prevented or withdrew 4,500 children from the
worst forms of child labor in Cundinamarca department.

------------------------------
Labor Inspection Strengthening
------------------------------
5. (U) USAID is providing $1 million over the 2005-2009 time
frame to support the GOC in the design and implementation of
a new labor inspection system. Specific activities include a
detailed evaluation of the previous workplace inspection
system (completed in 2005), the development of a new
inspection model emphasizing prevention, risk-analysis based
inspections, and negotiated solutions to labor conflicts. We
have obtained buy-in of the regional inspection offices to
support the structural and legal reform of the inspection
system and has convinced the GOC to allocate funds to hire
207 new labor inspectors.

--------------------------------------------- -
Promotion and Strengthening of Labor Rights
--------------------------------------------- -
6. (U) USAID's $450,000 funding (2005-2009) supports the
promotion of labor rights through a six-level strategy that
includes 1) analysis of the consistency of Colombian
legislation with ILO standards, with recommendations for
necessary changes, 2) design of the new labor law concerning
the right to strike, 3) policy recommendations on the costs
and benefits of adapting the right to strike law to public
services, 4) policy recommendations on the registration of
new industry-level unions, 5) support to the development of
an oral adjudication system for labor disputes, and 6)
implementation of the oral adjudication system.

-----------------------
Child Labor Eradication
-----------------------
7. (U) USAID funded this $570,000 project related to child
labor eradication with a implementation timeline from
2005-2009. This project analyzes the causes of child labor,
identifies critical areas and detailed policy recommendations
for eradication, and works to refine a conditional subsidies
model targeted to families with working children to create
incentives to keep children in school.

--------------------------------------
Fundamental Labor Rights Dissemination
--------------------------------------
8. (U) USAID funded a $100,000 project that is projected to
last six months beginning in late 2008. This project will
promote a series of outreach seminars in 13 Colombian cities
to raise public awareness of fundamental labor rights and
voluntary adoption of international labor norms such as the
SA 8000 norm. Internal GOC decisions regarding which GOC
institution would also support the program have delayed
start-up.

-------------------------------------------
Strengthening Labor Unions
Improving Labor Rights Enabling Environment
-------------------------------------------
9. (U) USAID funded this $1.5 million project that began in
2008 and will last three years. The project will support the
AFL/CIO-affiliated Solidarity Center in its work to assist
Colombian unions to promote legal reforms to allow inclusion
of workers in unions under a wider variety of contract
arrangements (sub-contracts, part-time employees) and to
allow organization of unions by economic sector. The project
will also assist Colombian unions to develop new bargaining
and organizing strategies to attract sub-contracted workers
and members of cooperatives into unions.

------------------
Protection Program
------------------
10. (U) USAID is funding this $12.4 million project over ten
years, from 2001-2011. USAID supports the Protection Program
of the Ministry of Interior and Justice. This program
provides soft protection (plane tickets and temporary
relocation away from the area of risk) and hard protection
measures (armoring of offices, armored vehicles, bullet
resistant vests) to individuals under threat. In 2007, the
GOC protected 1,959 at risk union members, along with
journalists, human rights advocates and other at risk groups,
at a cost of $44 million.

-----------------------------------------
Labor Outreach and Communication Campaign
-----------------------------------------
11. (U) USAID funded a one-year project that began in
September 2008 with $1 million. Through its Human Rights
Program, USAID launched a new labor activity to develop and
implement a series of media campaigns and outreach activities
to combat the negative stigma and perception of unions and
union members. In addition to compliment the existing
protection program with the Ministry of Interior and Justice,
USAID will provide violence prevention training to unions and
labor activists. Activities would include training union
members on what information to provide when reporting crimes,
how to disseminate crime reports and training on state
reporting procedures and processes.


BROWNFIELD

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