COLOMBIA: THE STRUGGLE AGAINST PRIVATIZATION OF TELECOM
This meeting will be in English and Spanish
SPEAKER: Jorge Lerma, President, Union Sindical de Trabajadores de las Communicaciones (USTC)
WHEN: 7 pm, Tuesday, December 2, 2003
WHERE: PSAC Meeting Rm, Ground Floor, 233 Gilmour Street
SPONSORED BY: CUPE, CUPW, PSAC, ODLC, Sisters in Solidarity, CLC, CEP, CAW, NGO Working Group on EDC
Jorge Lerma became an active trade unionist in l982, two months after being hired by the National Telecommunications Company in Colombia. In l989, he moved from Valledupar to Bogota as a member of the National Executive of the National Association of Telecom Technicians.
The first strike to defend Telecom as a complex of public companies was in l992. A year later, Brother Lerma and other union activists were detained by the Gaviria government and kept in prison for nine months. After five years, the Attorney General's office closed the investigation and no further charges were laid.
Jorge Lerma became the National President of USTC in May 2003. The USTC represents workers from 16 telecommunications companies in Colombia.
State officials have continuously harassed the USTC leadership and activists in recent years in different regions throughout Colombia. The Union has laid criminal charges against the director of the Metropolitan Police of Bogota and against various national government functionaries.
Legal action has also been launched against the 13 decrees that imposed the liquidation of 13 public telecom companies in June 2003. Death threats against Brother Lerma have been frequent, including faceless threats from the National Police force who have promised to kill Lerma when the intensity of the conflict dies down.
Jorge Lerma is attending the NO-FTAA events in Miami and then touring Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in an effort to explain to Canadian workers and communities the real impacts of neo-liberal privatization policies in Colombia.
His major objective is to increase the level of trade union solidarity between Colombian and Canadian workers.
PLEASE JOIN US - COME AND HEAR BROTHER JORGE LERMA FROM COLOMBIA