( Translated by Thomas Kolar, a CSN volunteer translator)
WE DEMAND A POSITIVE RESPONSE TO THE LETTER OF PETITIONS FROM THE WORKERS OF OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM
The legal phase of negotiations having been finished with the company, Occidental de Colombia SA, that exploits the oil fields of Arauca, and with the Pipeline Cano Limon-Covenas, the members of the Union Sindical Obrera, faced with the intransigence of the companies, approves in general assembly a call to strike in order to demand a favorable response to their letter of petitions.
Occidental (OXY) operates one of the largest and most profitable oil fields of the country, and recently benefited from an extension by 18 years of its contract of with ECOPETROL, even though the field and its installations should revert to
Colombia in 2008.
This multinational claims the right to impose rules abrogating its obligations in its labor relations with the businesses contracted and subcontracted and the Cooperativas de Trabajo Asociado. Of 1,500 active workers, only 60 are on the traditional payroll with an indefinite contract, only 250 brother workers from firms affiliated by contract to the union benefit from the Convention and the rest are either decreed to be excluded by administration directive or they are simply blackmailed to force them to form cooperatives.
Qualified workers of the region are excluded in a campaign of “MacCarthyism” against the people of Arauca. It is not acceptable that, apart from the taking of our oil, the workers are subjected to conditions of work and pay that fail to meet international standards and seriously violate the most basic democratic rights.
We demand an immediate response to the Letter of Petitions from Occidental, we support USO-Arauca in its adopted decision and we invite the people of Arauca and the union movement to toast to solidarity in this conflict.
CARLOS RODRIGUEZ DIAZ
BORIS MONTES DE OCA
GUSTAVO RUBEN TRIANA SUAREZ
Secretary of Energy & Mining Sector
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621