Striking Nestle worker murdered by right wing paramilitaries

Striking Nestle worker murdered by right wing paramilitaries

Striking Nestle worker and trade union organiser, Oscar lopez, was shot four times by multiple gunmen in a local bar. ‘Sinaltrainal’, his trade union had been locked in a bitter dispute with Nestle over union recognition and report receiving several death threats via text message from a right-wing paramilitary group, ‘Urabenos’- the day before Lopez was murdered. The messages read, “We are going to chop you up” and “Death to all Communists”.

Nestle have predictably condemned the murder, issuing a statement saying – "We hope the authorities will be able to identify and arrest whoever is responsible for this crime." Not likely when you consider the apparent collusion between the government, Church, Police, bosses, and right-wing mercenaries. The former leader of the ‘Urabenos’ group – Carlos Castano – said that, “We kill trade unionists because the interfere with working people.”

Violence against trade unionists is endemic in Colombia - the ‘Justice for Colombia’ campaign describes the scale of the problem:

Quote:
Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist. Every year numerous union leaders, union activists and union members are assassinated - simply because of their trade union activities. Over 2,500 unionists have been murdered in the past 20 years, more than in the rest of the world combined.
Most of the killings are carried out by right-wing paramilitary death squads that have documented links to the Colombian security forces. However, many are murdered by members of the Colombian Army and a few years ago information came to light showing how the Colombian secret police were drawing up 'death lists' of trade union members to be shot.
The Colombian regime does very little to bring the perpetrators of the anti-union violence in Colombia to justice. In fact, in over 98% of the cases in which a trade unionist is killed in Colombia, nobody is brought to justice. This impunity is a green light for the assassinations to continue as those responsible, whether they are soldiers, paramilitaries or anyone else, know that they can get away with it.

Over 400 credible threats against active trade unionists were reported in 2012 and over 20 were actually murdered. In the last couple of years of the dispute with Nestle, 15 Nestle employees (mainly trade unionists) have also been murdered. What steps have Nestle taken to protect the workers? Yes, you guessed correctly – absolutely none. Anyone would think that Nestle are in cahoots with them!

Solidarity with the Colombian trade unionists!

Posted By

working class s...
Nov 12 2013 21:32

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  • The Colombian regime does very little to bring the perpetrators of the anti-union violence in Colombia to justice. In fact, in over 98% of the cases in which a trade unionist is killed in Colombia, nobody is brought to justice.

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Comments

plasmatelly
Nov 12 2013 23:23

Gods sake. Thanks for that wc - please keep us updated if you hear more.

InquilabZindabad
Nov 13 2013 10:46

There's more in this WSJ (sic.) article.

Ablokeimet
Nov 13 2013 11:28

The best response to this murder would be a strike. And the best strike would be by Nestle's workers around the world. If Nestle knew that a murder of one of their workers would be followed by a strike by all their workers around the world, I'm confident the murders would stop.

working class s...
Nov 13 2013 12:06

Also, its a Colombia problem, not just a Nestle problem

Ian Schlom
Nov 14 2013 02:46

One needs an account in order to access that article. Could you print a PDF of the article for us?

labournet.tv
Nov 14 2013 09:58

Here is a video about the labour dispute explaining about the context in which this murder took place:
http://en.labournet.tv/video/6617/colombia-nestle-unionist-murdered

Ablokeimet
Nov 14 2013 10:48
working class self organisation wrote:
Also, its a Colombia problem, not just a Nestle problem

Yes, it's a problem with unionists across Colombia (and a handful of other countries, too, like the Philippines). It's with large multinationals like Nestle and Coca Cola, however, that the working class in the rest of the world has some leverage to act and to get things started. If these multinationals learnt that there was no percentage in killing unionists, they'd stop, especially since the strikes would get far more media coverage than the original murder would. And, once the workers get the confidence that they won't be killed, they'd be a lot more confident in putting up their hands for union positions and the unions would be stronger - a lot stronger.

Once we had managed to establish the Colombian subsidiaries of large multinationals as "safe havens", the movement in Colombia would be able to adopt the policy of having a general strike if a unionist is killed. Getting Colombian workers for Nestle, Coca Cola and other multinationals protected would be a good start and give the Colombian workers the ability to take the idea further.

The IUF & Labourstart are trying to deluge the Colombian Government with protest messages. It's better than nothing, of course, but a 24 hour stoppage in a single Nestle factory anywhere would be worth 50,000 E-mails.

working class s...
Nov 14 2013 11:30

Labourstart email to Colombian government

http://www.iuf.org/cgi-bin/campaigns/show_campaign.cgi?c=800

InquilabZindabad
Nov 17 2013 20:00

Terribly sorry for being late! http://a.pomf.se/o8ecl.pdf