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Historic agreement signed at the ILO

12 de Junio de 2006
Historic agreement signed
at the ILO

Workers' and employers' representatives have reached an agreement
with the Colombian government for the ILO to be permanently
represented in Colombia.

On 1st June 2006, in the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards at the 95th Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Colombian delegation succeeded in securing a tripartite agreement.
The agreement comes after workers have been struggling for two decades to get the ILO, as a tripartite body, to hear their complaints. They have protested concerning violations of Conventions 98 and 87 and demanded a stop to the victimisation and murder of trade union leaders in Colombia. The main points of the agreement are as follows:

1. The Colombian government, together with the International Labour Office, is to set up a permanent ILO office in Colombia, which will be in charge of technical cooperation to promote decent work and the basic rights of workers and their representatives. This programme will be particularly concerned with protecting the lives of trade unionists, trade union freedom and freedom of association and expression, and collective bargaining, as well as free enterprise for employers.

2. As regards technical cooperation, the Colombian government is committed to working towards providing financial support so that the objectives stated can be attained, and will ask the ILO for its help in this matter

3. The parties to the agreement will follow closely the results of the investigations to establish the facts and punish those responsible for crimes against the life and freedom of trade union leaders and workers.

4. The parties to the agreement are committed to promoting and putting into practice the ILO's principles and standards as regards basic rights at work, and for this purpose a National Commission for agreement on wages and salaries policies is to be set up.

PSI has constantly backed the Colombian trade union movement in the complaints it has presented. Therefore we are very pleased about this new beginning of a dialogue aimed at finding solutions for the grave problems faced by Colombian workers. We look forward to concrete measures being taken to set up a permanent ILO office with a viable programme of work. In particular, we will continue to insist on the need for full implementation of ILO Conventions 151 and 154, which have been ratified by Colombia, to guarantee public sector workers' rights of association and collective bargaining.

Public Services International (PSI) is an international trade union federation that represents 20 million public sector workers worldwide. For further information, please write to: communications@ world-psi.org or visit the website www.world-psi.org.

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