SAB Miller violates trade union rights in Colombia

Subsidiary of British brewing and beverage multinational launches offensive against sector union

Bavaria, owned by the British brewing multinational SAB Miller, has been denounced by the international trade union movement for serious violations of the right to organise and collective bargaining in Colombia. The country’s top beverage sector company is refusing to acknowledge the list of demands presented by its employees at the beginning of July.

The document was submitted to the company by the Colombian beverage industry union SINALTRAINBEC, but the demands were rejected on the pretext that sector-level negotiations are not compulsory in Colombia. The company also wrote to the Labour Ministry, requesting that it de-recognise the union.

"SAB Miller Bavaria is under an obligation to deal with its employees’ list of demands, in accordance with the national legislation and the international conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The refusal to table negotiations is a blatant violation of its workers’ right to organise and collective bargaining," underlined the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow, in a letter to the company’s vice president.

Bavaria’s website states that it supports a sustainable development strategy based on "Building Locally, Earning Sustainably", in accordance with the company’s ten priorities, which include respect for human rights, freedom of association and the recognition of trade unions. The corporation claims that it recognises "international labour standards" and is committed to respecting its "employees’ human rights in the workplace".

Sharan Burrow has informed the management at the company that "the ITUC, together with its affiliate the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia (CUT), is firmly opposed to this attack on the workers and the trade union organisations representing them, and urges it to deal with the workers’ and their trade union organisation’s list of demands without delay, in accordance with the company’s stated policy on human rights".

For more information, please contact the ITUC Press Department on +32 2 224 0204 or +32 476 62 10 18.