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Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a trade unionist. More than 3,000 have been murdered since 1989 – more than in the rest of the world combined. 

Colombia once had the highest population of trade unionists in Latin America, but this has declined rapidly over the last 30 years. Fewer than 4% of the workforce are in a trade union. Violence, anti-trade union laws and policies, and massive labour market changes, such as widespread privatisation and a huge rise in the number of people working in informal, precarious jobs, have undermined union organising. 

However, recently we have seen some positive progress. In September 2023, for first time, the Colombian government recognised the trade union movement as a conflict victim. President Gustavo Petro also called for reparations for those impacted and for classified archives labelling trade unionists as ‘internal enemies’ to be made public.

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The STUC continues to support the work of Justice for Colombia. You can read more about their work here.