Labor and Employment
Ministry of Work imposed a fine against
company that refused to initiate direct
negotiations with an Union.
During the stage of direct negotiation, Union members have the right to
present a petition sheet. The employer or its representative has the
obligation to initiate conversations with the Union delegates within 24
hours of receiving the petition sheet.
Colombian law states that the breach of this term leads to economical
sanctions that can be of five to ten minimum monthly statuary salaries for
each day of delay in the beginning of the negotiation.
Recently, the Ministry of Work sanctioned a company from the aeronautic
industry with a fine of Col. Pesos $ 5.895.000 (highest possible sanction)
for each day of the delay in the initiation of the direct negotiation process
with an Industry Union. The company which refused to initiate
conversations, alleged that the Union did not fulfill the requirement of
denouncing a current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the
company and another union along with the presentation of the petition
The Ministry of Work considered that the company violated the
association and collective negotiation rights by not observing the terms
established by the law to initiate conversations with the Union during the
stage of direct negotiation. As concerns to the possible breaches of the
Industry's Union, the Ministry of Work considered that it is completely
legal to have more than one Collective Bargaining Agreements and plural
number of unions in one company, and in consequence, each union has
autonomy to negotiate. In this sense, it is not necessary for an union to
denounce the Collective Bargaining Agreement of other unions within the
company in order to present the list of petitions.
The Ministry of work added that unionized employees will receive the
benefits of the Collective Bargaining Agreement they freely choose and
which best suits their economic interests.