Colombian trade unions have organised a general strike on 30 October. The action follows another strike and protest of around 800,000 on 16 September where many people were detained and beaten. Trade unionists, youth, rural workers and poor peasants were involved.
The action is against the new government of Uribe Vélez policies of cuts and repression.
The government plans:
l A labour reform that reduces wages and overtime
l A pension reform that increases the retirement age by a third
l The reduction of public sector salaries by 30%.
These measures have been developed under pressure from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. They demand a new and harsher "fiscal adjustment" to resolve the budget deficit. Fifty per cent of government finance will be supplied by new foreign loans.
Since the United States increased its military aid to Colombia in 1998 war and repression - against the FARC guerrillas, but also all internal opposition - have greatly increased.
The unions are demanding:
l An end to the "reforms"
l Restitution of price subsidies
l End the privatisations. Renationalise the state enterprises that have been privatised.
l No freezing of salaries
l No education cuts
l A Plan of Employment
l No to paying the foreign debt.
Colombia Solidarity Campaign: firstname.lastname@example.org