The national amalgamated transport workers’ union in Colombia, SNTT, which represents dockers and other workers, signed a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with APM/TCBUEN container terminal at Buenaventura port on July 15, according to International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The agreement recognises the union and includes several benefits for workers, including the right to a fair, bipartite process for disciplinary investigations.
The SNTT, which represents 84 of the company’s 350 workers in the port, reached the agreement with TCBUEN, acquired by APM in 2015, after what it described as one of its toughest battles.
ITF cited the union as saying that the company had refused to begin negotiations until forced to by Colombia’s labour ministry.
“Workers experienced what they described as anti-union persecution when they started organising at the terminal, including threats of dismissal. Two were dismissed, although they were immediately reinstated following SNTT legal action over their right to join the union,” ITF said.
SNTT Colombia so far signed 20 agreements, which cover 3,200 transport workers, including 10 covering nearly 800 dockers.
The union is taking legal action against TCBUEN for obstructing freedom of association, according to ITF.