ELEVEN NESTLE WORKERS HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL
(Colombia) (Author: SINALTRAINAL)
[Translated by Micheal O Tuathail, a CSN volunteer translator. from La Chiva in Canada]
For the crimes of ideological lies in the public document and illegal hindrance, the following high executives from the Swiss multinational [Nestlé] were called to court: Fernando del Castillo Ríos, Milton Sánchez Villarreal, Isoliel Montero Pérez, Carlos Alberto Ramírez, Carlos Fajardo Pinzón, Enrique Almeida, Álvaro Javier Castaño, Dolores Guerra Gutiérrez, José Gutiérrez Osorio, Ramón Ramos Anaya, and Adalid Jiménez Narváez.
The ruling was pronounced by Prosecutor 14, appointed by the Penal Judges of the Valledupar Circuit on 24 August, 2007, for the irregular firings of 180 workers from CICOLAC on 17 September, 2003.
As conveniently as we say it now, the workers were held against their will in three hotels in Valledupar until they “voluntarily resigned.” This criminal act was committed by Nestlé with the complicity of the Ministry of Labor. This “association to commit a crime” between the government and the transnationals has been a very effective formula for annihilating social organizations, labor unions in particular.
The firings of 99% of the workers had transcendental importance in the process of wiping out SINALTRAINAL from this company and weakening it in other Nestlé plants in the country. Immediately after firing the workers, CICOLAC Ltd. ceased to exist as a processor of powdered milk. In its place, DPA Society Ltd. appeared.
With the intent of distorting the existence of the new owners, DPA Ltd acquired the entire factory asset by asset, not as a productive unit but as individual machines, primary materials, moveable property, and real estate. To operate, new, temporary workers were hired, thereby avoiding having to honor the collective agreement.
DPA Limited was announced by Nestlé as a strategic alliance with the FONTERRA groups for the continuation and centralization of milk product processing in Colombia. Thus began the latest mockery against workers and the laws of Colombia.
For these crimes, the executives of the Swiss transnational could face up to 8 years in prison.
NESTLÉ and the Permanent Tribunal of Peoples (PTP)
In April of last year, four accusations were presented to the PTP against this transnational:
No. 1: WIPING OUT SINALTRAINAL from within NESTLÉ in CICOLAC Ltd., Valledupar: for the firings of union associates, violating legal procedures and conventions, and for the forced and mass-firings of workers.
No. 2: CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. For the deaths, disappearances, displacements, and threats against SINALTRAINAL union leaders.
No. 3: RE-PACKING AND RE-LABELLING EXPIRED MILK. Colombian authorities confiscated 341,700 kilograms of powdered milk imported from Uruguay that is being re-labelled and re-packed for the Colombian market.
No. 4: POLLUTION with chemical and organic waste of the Guatapuri and Bugalagrande rivers.
For these crimes, the PTP Jury, the same that will condemn the US government for crimes committed against the peoples of Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq, and others, resolved to ACCUSE the transnational NESTLÉ, the Swiss parent company and its Colombian affiliates alike, for:
“Grave and massive violations of labor laws, specifically the right to organize; contempt for the dignity and lives of workers and their communities by backing economic policies that contribute to the dramatic deterioration of living conditions and health for a growing proportion of the Colombian population.
For consumer fraud by assuming commitments to social responsibility that are flagrantly disregarded in Colombia.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, whatever person linked to these companies is also individually responsible in the legal arena as author or accomplice to those crimes against humanity in which he or she has participated.
The Executive Branch, with the absolute partiality of governmental organisms, as proven through the actions of the Ministry of Labor in the coordinated process of dismantling the union SINALTRAINAL, allows the mass-firings of workers and their substitution by temporary workers in the Nestlé plant in Valledupar. For their part, which has been proven in this hearing, the multinationals do not hesitate to use any methods necessary to advance their policy of destroying union activity and flexibilizing labor, methods that include threats, blackmail through the workers’ families, firings, and accusing workers of being involved with armed groups….”
The decision of the Public Prosecutor in Colombia confirms the accusations of the trial before the Permanent Tribunal of People (Agro-industry Hearing), to which were invited the same Nestlé executives who are now called to court. Both mechanisms of justice are underway, and we hope for the good of humanity that the truth comes out, that there is justice, and that the victims can receive reparations for the crimes committed by Nestlé.
To date, NESTLÉ has remained utterly silent. As they say, “Silence implies consent.”
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621