The Permanent Commission for the Agreement of Labor and Salary Policies, of which union federations (CUT, CGT, CTC and CDP) and the national association of entrepreneurs (ANDI) were consulted, the Colombian government issued Decree 89, 2014, which intends to reinforce collective negotiations and collaborative efforts of the unions.
According to Article 39 of the Colombian Constitution, the unions’ operations have to be linked to law enforcement and to democratic principles. Furthermore, Colombian labor legislation entitles unions to present to employers, different lists of petitions in which the employees request better working conditions.
In Colombia it is permitted to have multiple unions at the same company and it could be problematic to perform the collective negotiation procedure due to the fact that the employer needed to negotiate individually with each union. This often resulted in a company hearing as many collective bargaining agreements or arbitral awards as there were unions. Additionally, since each negotiation process was individual and autonomous, the period of validity of each collective bargaining or arbitral award was independent, which left some employers continually performing the collective negotiation processes.
In order to solve these problems, Decree 089, 2014, established that if a Company had two or more unions, the unions can decide if they negotiate with one unified petition list and as a result jointly integrate the unions’ negotiation commission.
In order to guarantee the unit of negotiation between unions and companies, if the unions do not reach an agreement for the presentation of a unified list of petitions, the Decree states that the unions’ negotiation commission should be integrated proportionally, taking into consideration the number of affiliates to each union and the different lists of petitions that will be negotiated at the same time and in the same table, in order to assure the presence of all the unions in the process.
Decree 89 establishes that the effective dates of collective bargaining agreements and the arbitral awards should be articulated progressively in order to preserve unity of (i) negotiation, (ii) lists of petitions and (iii) the collective bargaining agreement or award.
The Decree also simplifies the procedure of collective negotiation for the employers. Employers will negotiate at the same time with all unions in the company and will negotiate the unified list of petitions from all unions.
Finally, it is important to mention that Decree 89 was presented to the union federations and the national association of entrepreneurs and received the support of both groups. This means that there has been a consensus from the Permanent Commission for the Agreement of Labor and Salary Policies (this is, employees, employers and government) regarding the benefits of the Decree.