John Key needs to raise killings of unionists during Colombia visit

While John Key is pushing the cause of free trade in Colombia, he needs to raise concerns around the appalling number of trade unionists that die protecting workers’ rights there.

In 2011, according to the International Trade Union Confederation 29 trade unionists were murdered in Colombia.

Colombia is a violent society where helping to organise a union can lead to death sentence.  Nearly 4000 Colombian trade unionists have been murdered over the last 20 years.

Until 1990, Colombian trade unions were among the strongest in Latin America. However, as paramilitary groups formed in the mid-1980s in response to the internal civil conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Government, unionists began to be targeted.

Colombia is now by far the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists. More trade unionists are killed in this country than the rest of the world combined.

Concerns about violence against trade unions have delayed United States-Colombia trade agreements.  Though in October 2011, the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was signed.  This move was criticised by labour leaders in both Colombia and the United States for not doing enough to assist Colombian trade unionists and workers’ rights.

When John Key is trying to advance New Zealand’s trade policy he needs to push the rights of workers in both New Zealand and the countries he is dealing with.

It is hoped he raises the appalling violence against trade unionists on his visit.

About Denise Roche 161 Articles

Green Party MP

4 Comments Posted

  1. If you read Gabriel Garcia Marquis, the killing of unionist protesters goes way back to the beginning of the 20th century, namely the massacre of Cianaga that was mentioned in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
    As for Key He won’t be giving a stuff, he’s on a different planet.

  2. John Key will be very interested in new and innovative ways to destroy unions and worker rights.

    There are already so many similarities with the global economic destruction of worker rights and jobs as evidenced by reading Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’, including the Charter schools being rushed in during the Christchurch earthquake – known as disaster capitalism, the baby of Friedman, and espoused by many including Roger Douglas who attended the Mont Pelerin economic meeting and learned how to destroy his own country and 99% of his fellow New Zealanders for the benefit of the 1%.

    It started with New Zealander-owned-asset sales 1980s, 1990s.

    Now Key has taken that on for his own benefit. He will be part of the 5% of New Zealanders that can buy shares in priceless water and power assets and he put through the legislation to enable that.

    What sort of a country is this that allows that sort of corruption and the polls go UP in his favour??

  3. Given John Key’s attitude to unions as evidenced by the Hobbit fiasco, what on earth makes you think he would care about unionists in Colombia?

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