Witch Hunt Against ‘Transmilenio’ Drivers
News from Colombia |
on: Sunday, 4 September 2011
At least 15 drivers on Bogota’s Transmilenio transport system have been fired following rumours of strike action according to Colombia’s CUT trade union federation. Workers on the network, which is run by seven private companies, have also repeatedly been denied the right to form a trade union. In the last week of August strong rumours circulated Bogota that the drivers of the network were preparing strike action to protest at labour abuses and poor pay and working conditions.
Although the strike did not happen the Transmilenio companies appear to have begun a witch hunt of those drivers it suspects supported such a move. According to the CUT this has resulted in at least 15 drivers being fired since - often in violation of their work contracts. The CUT statement says that the men “were fired simply on suspicion” of a strike. One of the sacked drivers has stated that he was fired after someone overheard him saying, in response to a passenger’s question that he had heard a strike was being spoken about and reported him to the company.
The punitive measures taken against ordinary workers merely on suspicion that they might take industrial action shows how routinely the rights of workers are abused in Colombia.