By Andrea Pradilla, Trade Intern, International Labor Rights Forum
On September 22, 2010, local labor unions in Colombia announced their decision to the Ministry of Social Protection, during a meeting aimed to resolve the critical conditions of the flower workers in the department of Cundinamarca in Colombia.
According to the Colombian National Union of Flower Workers (UNTRAFLORES), in Finca Guacari, labor rights violations have dramatically increased over the past four months. Finca Guacari is a flower plantation located in Zipaquira near Bogota that primarily exports its production to the U.S. market. The plantation belongs to Sunburst Farms, which proudly announces being a corporate socially and environmentally responsible company.
Workers on this plantation organized a union on September 7, 2010. They were motivated by the company’s 3-month failure to pay their wages, health coverage charges, pension fees, and other benefits. After forming the union, seven members of Sintraguacari—the newly created union—were illegally fired in what constitutes a clear retaliation against workers and unions in the cut flower industry.