Local authorities in parts of Valle del Cauca and the north of Cauca
say their economies have collapsed, they can no longer pay their
personnel and cane cutters are starving because of the ongoing dispute
between the cutters and plantation owners.
The cane cutters demand fairer working conditions and payment. Their employment have cut all payments to teh workers, which has led to an almost complete collapse of local economies that for the majority live off the sugar cane production.
Some 12,000 people are be in inhuman situations, many of them literally starving, local leaders say.
According to the mayor of Candelaria Nancy Stella Velasquez, eighty percent of of the municipality is economically dependent on the plantations. “We are having a huge social problem that must be handled by the National Government. They should help solve the labor dispute,” the mayor told Caracol Radio.
Because the plantation owners have cut all wages of the strikers, the governments are without income, because they depend on the taxes paid on the salaries.
Even local energy company EPSA had to create an emergency construction to be able to pay their workers.
The cane cutters have been on strike for two months now to demand a fairer reward for their work and better working conditions. In return plantation owners have suspended all contracts, trying to force their revolting personnel back to work.