Frank Hammer and Stu Daily have reported a breakthrough for the ASOTRECOL group, which has been advocating for Colombian workers fired by General Motors. It is one of the biggest accomplishments in the 9+ year struggle.
Our injured Colombian former GM workers, who have organized under the name ASOTRECOL and maintained a tent encampment on the street 24-7 in front of the US Embassy in Bogota to protest their illegal dismissals, have successfully supported a new group of injured workers dismissed illegally by GM.
In February, just before the pandemic hit, GM received government authorization to reduce its labor force by 103. The government authorization explicitly stated that injured workers (who have some additional protections in Colombia) were not to be included.
We don’t know exactly how many of the 103 workers GM was authorized to fire were terminated from their jobs. We do know that 44 of these fired workers sought the legal counsel of Kemba the lawyer representing ASOTRECOL.
These workers increased their visibility (and subsequently ASOTRECOL’s visibility) by taking turns maintaining a presence at the tent encampment. This visibility was critical to one of two judges ruling on the side of the workers.
The attached video shows several of the workers dismissed in February at the tent encampment learning the news from Kemba on a video call, that the first 20 out of 44 who filed the legal process have been ordered reinstated immediately and permanently by the judge!!!
The only reason why only 20 and not all 44 workers were granted reinstatement through this court decision was the COVID pandemic. Due to COVID, this trial was conducted virtually and there were technical reasons for restricting the size and number of files that could be transmitted via email (instead of presented in person in the court). Therefore, we have reason to believe that the remaining 22 fired workers will be reinstated in a second wave of this trial.
We also have video (see link below) of these reinstated workers vowing to remain vigilant and fight for the reinstatement of their fellow injured and dismissed workers.
As you can imagine, this has been a huge morale boost for Jorge and the other ASOTRECOL members who have worked to maintain this constant struggle and occupation of the tent encampment since August 2, 2011. They continue to show GM that until they settle with the workers, they will not have an easy time continuing their practice of dismissing workers injured on the job.
The message coming out of this win? When we work together we are powerful.
The struggle continues. Thanks to the working class brothers and sisters participating in the collective struggle to improve labor conditions in all countries of the globe.
To view the video of celebrating reinstated Colombian GM workers, click here.