Rule of Law and Labour Rights in Colombia
TUAC Submission to the 8th meeting of the Regulatory Policy Committee (22-23 April 2013) & the 47th session of the Public Governance Committee (25-26 April 2013)



  • 1304t_gov_colpdf

Executive summary & Key messages

The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) and the Public Governance Committee (PGC) are meeting this week to discuss and approve OECD reports on regulatory reform and on public governance in Colombia. These appear under:

  • RPC agenda item 2: Regulatory Policy Review of Colombia (GOV/RPC(2013)6), and
  • PGC agenda item 7: Implementing Good Governance in Colombia (GOV/PGC(2013)5).

Although in recent years the government of Colombia has made efforts to reduce the power of armed organizations, modernize the economy and attract foreign investment, it has made little progress in addressing the needs of workers and their unions.

In view of the information provided in this submission, we believe that neither the PGC nor the RPC report should be adopted in its current form. Rather, both should be reviewed to explore further the rule of law and labour rights situation in Colombia and their impact on public governance and effective quality regulation.

In our view, neither report (hereafter “RPC report” and “PGC report”) places sufficient attention on the impact of collective insecurity and of recurrent failures to meet internationally recognised labour standards on public governance and regulatory quality in Colombia, including:

the exceptional severity of the human rights risks to trade unionists and other human rights defenders in Colombia, including assassination;

  • the violation of freedom of association and collective bargaining, which are essential forms of regulation of the labour markets,
  • the weak enforcement of labour law, 
  • the defect in the police, public prosecution and judiciary leading to high levels of impunity in cases related to violence against trade union members,
  • the absence of substantive social dialogue between government and trade unions.

We discuss each of the above based on extensive research provided by the International Trade Union Confederation and the TUAC’s US and Canadian affiliates, the AFL-CIO  and the CLC, as well as the European Trade Union Confederation. For each issue we also point to relevant section of the RPC and/or PGC reports.


(full report is attached)