Six buses from a Cerrejón contractor company were burned in Riohacha

Six buses from a Cerrejón contractor company were burned in Riohacha

Six buses belonging to a Cerrejón contractor were burned at the Riohacha transport terminal. Photo: Twitter Eliana Mejía.

The mining company Cerrejón denounced, this Wednesday, February 24, that six Amtur Guajira buses, used to transport mine personnel, were burned at the Riohacha transport terminal.

The multinational condemned the acts of violence committed against the vehicles of the transport company that is responsible for mobilizing workers from the capital of La Guajira to the mine, and which were carried out by unknown individuals in the transport terminal of this city.

“The assailants fired shots in the air, attacked the Amtur company personnel who were in the terminal and set six buses on fire during the vandalism. Fortunately, no injuries were recorded in these events “the mining company said in a statement.

Similarly, Cerrejón denounced that at the Amtur facilities in Hatonuevo They intimidated the workers of the transport company, and placed a padlock at the entrance of the place preventing the entry and exit of the buses.

For his part, the director of the National Union of Coal Industry Workers (Sintracarbón), Igor Díaz, announced that The union forcefully rejects the burning of the buses in the Riohacha hot spring.

“Our actions will always be peaceful and democratic in the fight to defend our labor rights”, assured the president of Sintracarbón.

Illustrative file photo of a worker at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia. May 24, 2007. REUTERS / Jose Miguel Gómez

Illustrative file photo of a worker at the Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia. May 24, 2007. REUTERS / Jose Miguel Gómez 

The facts come after the Cerrejón mining company, which operates the largest open-pit coal mine in the region, reported that, due to the worldwide drop in the price of the mineral and the reduction in international demand, it had to include in its restructuring process, a program of voluntary retirement of its personnel.

Due to the impact on coal prices, as well as the situation caused by the covid-19 health crisis, in which operations at the mine were halted for 42 days, the mining company adopted different measures to face the complex situation.

“Cerrejón’s responsibility is to seek and execute the measures that ensure the sustainability of the Company to continue providing benefits to its employees, communities, department and Colombia”the company said in a statement.

For this reason, the company, which operates in the department of La Guajira, in northern Colombia, indicated that it implemented different measures, including a program for the voluntary retirement of personnel, because it was necessary to “adjust the structure to the number of personnel required for the current operation.”

Cerrejón also stated that among the challenges the company has faced is the 91-day strike by members of the Coal Industry Workers’ Union (Sintracarbón), which prevented the normality of operations and exports.

Apart from this, the company denounced blockades on the railroad as a form of demonstration by the community, in order to “intervene in issues that have nothing to do with Cerrejón.”

In this sense, the company indicated that during the past year 32 days of road blockage were registered, of which 20 were part of a single event; While so far this year it has already registered 12 more days for reasons that, he argued, have nothing to do with the company, but do affect the reputation of the company and the country as “stable suppliers” making customers look for the mineral in other nations.

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“It has been a difficult decision, but we face a very challenging and complicated moment in which we must understand that, if the company does not operate, we all lose. For this reason, more than ever, we have to unite, around the sustainability of Cerrejón, employees, contractors, unions and authorities “, the mining company concluded.

Photo: Sintracarbón on Twitter (@sintracarbon)

Photo: Sintracarbón on Twitter (@sintracarbon)

The National Union of Coal Industry Workers (Sintracarbón) denounced that the multinational is seeking to dismiss 450 workers through an external law firm, in order to offer a “voluntary retirement by mutual agreement”, however, it assured that if To benefit from the retirement program, Cerrejón will proceed to dismiss these workers without just cause.

“What we can say is that we already reject this alleged labor massacre”, indicated the union in a statement.

Sintracarbón indicated that, while the company notified the union of this decision, it was calling on the employees to offer them two figures, one of a greater amount in the case that they took advantage of the voluntary withdrawal and another one of less amount if they did not accept to benefit from the mutual agreement.

“This union has always said that it does not influence, guide, advise, or negotiate with jobs. Whoever makes the decision to take advantage of a retirement plan by mutual agreement must do so under their personal conception. By principles, Sintracarbón is instituted to defend work and workers, therefore whoever decides to stay in defense of their job has our support “, indicated the union of workers.

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