URGENT. Nutresa is responsible for the lives of the hunger strikers
On the 22nd of August 2017 three Nutresa workers affiliated to Sinaltrainal initiated a hunger strike in order to demand that the conglomerate Grupo Nutresa – and the head of the parent company, president Doctor Carlos Ignacio Gallego, in particular – take responsibility for resolving the numerous problems that exist in the companies that make up the corporate group (Comercial Nutresa, Meals de Colombia, Nacional de Chocolates, Noel, Zenú).
Early this morning (the 28th of August), in the city of Cucuta, our companion Jose Alfredo Jimenez joined the hunger strike. It is anticipated that others will join the hunger strike in the following days.
More than 150 hours since the declaration of the hunger strike the consequences of the arrogant and ruthless policies of Nutresa are increasingly evident: yesterday our companion Olimpo Yara Prieto (an employee at Meals de Colombia) had to be transferred to the emergency ward at the Central Hospital in Medellin where he has been interned. Our two other companions are suffering from significant weight loss, inflation of the stomach, constant dizziness and headaches, physical weakness, instability of vital signs such as arterial pressure, and glycaemia. Adding to the ordeals they are facing due to their deteriorating health, the weather in Medellin has been particularly inclement with very low temperatures at night and during the early morning hours.
We hold GRUPO NUTRESA responsible for the health of our companions and the consequences that could arise from the refusal of its owners and managers to commit themselves to resolving the problems generated by the labour conflict.
In the meeting held on the 22nd of August with a commission from the company’s staff responsible for human rights as well as a representative from the Ministry for Labour, we once again described the problematic aspects of the company’s policies and work practices. We also requested that the president of Grupo Nutresa (Doctor Carlos Ignacio Gallego) meet with us directly in order to develop a detailed and verifiable plan and measures to resolve the problems, and that he assume responsibility for ensuring that all such measures are implemented and maintained.
The main problems include:
- · • Labour instability; the reintegration of employees that have been unfairly and illegally dismissed; the suspension of arbitrary employment contracts, unjust demands and violations of due process.•
- Extensive outsourcing of the workforce, salaries and the organization of corporate functions and relations with employees.•
- Violations of Workplace Health and Safety regulations and standards.•
- Compliance with and the fulfilment of norms, conventions and agreements.•
- The organization and of work schedules and conditions.•
- The management structure and scale of professional salaries.•
- The systematic persecution of employees that are members of a trade union and other violations of the right to free association and collective organization.
- Policies with respect to suppliers.•
- Product quality and respect for the rights and welfare of consumers.•
- Social policies and environmental impacts in the community.•
- The security of workers and their families.•
- No reprisals.
We demand that Grupo Nutresa make a commitment to negotiate and implement solutions to these problems in good faith and that the company take into account the necessities of its employees, which is nothing more than rights inherent to our quality and condition as human beings. We are not demanding anything extraordinary, we simply demand respect for our human, labour, environmental and trade union rights and that the company comply with all relevant laws and standards.
We invite the community of Antioquia, our sister organizations and social movements, the international community in all its manifestations, and everyone who reads this communique to join us in solidarity until we reach a successful conclusion to the dispute. We ask you to send letters to Grupo Nutresa condemning their policies and demanding that they respect our rights and welfare, to the following address:
President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón: firstname.lastname@example.org
With a copy to: email@example.com
For those who would like to accompany us at our encampment we are located at: Carrera 52, No. 20-124, Avenida Guayabal, Medellin, Colombia.
Sinaltrainal present in the struggle against precarious working conditions and poverty