Ecopetrol protests continue in Cartagena

Workers protesting conditions at Colombia’s state-owned oil company Ecopetrol have ended their strike in Barrancabermeja, but are continuing action in Cartagena.

An eight-day strike at the Barrancabermeja refinery came to an end over the weekend following an agreement between workers and management.

But Ecopetrol’s reprieve was short-lived, as union leaders announced the protests, against alleged unfair treatment of contract workers, would carry on in Cartagena.

German Osman, vice-president of the oil workers union USO said workers were striking over “the unfair dismissal of 30 workers and the announcement of 40 more dismissals – all people involved in the protest, to whom the collective work agreement applies.”

He said the refinery management had not responded to the workers demands, adding, “All the refinery has proposed is a meeting to discuss broad themes — they have not addressed our specific concerns.”

Operations at Barrancabermeja returned to normal after Ecopetrol agreed to force contractors to respect labor rights and provide food and transport. Both sides agreed not to sue in relation to the strike action.

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