Near 5000 workers took to the streets of Colombia’s largest cities on Thursday in honor of “International Workers Day” or “Labor Day,” while calling for better working conditions.
In Medellin, the downtown area became flooded with laborers as workers were given day off and marched to join an annual May 1 international movement to celebrate the working class.
“This march is not against anything, but rather it is in favor of those in Colombia who should be given more decent and dignified work,” said Ruben Gomez, president of Antioquia’s General Confederation of Labor, the state’s primary labor union. Gomez also said that workers should be given their proper “compensation and contracts.”
The labor leader recognized challenges that currently face miners, artisans, and the farming population of Colombia and hopes that the government complies with all of the agreements that came about late last year after widespread striking across different sectors, according to El Colombiano newspaper.
Earlier this week, many farmers — notably those growing coffee, rice and potatoes — already went on strike independent of Thursday’s marches, alleging the failure of the government to comply with last year’s agreements.
There have already been international reports of violence on the part of government forces against strikers.
Today however, Medellin’s union’s met little trouble as they marched throughout the central area known as “El Centro,” as they were accompanied by the National Police, according to local media.
Banners and signs showed support for dignified working conditions.
Colombia’s workers will return to their jobs Friday after celebrating this national holiday of rest.
- Centrales obreras marchan por más trabajo decente (El Colombiano)
- Colombia deploys military might to crush farmers’ strike before election (Guardian)
- Confederacion General de Trabajo (General Confederation of Labor)