Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day 2017: A Good Time for Workers?

The CGT, a confederation of unions.
On Carrera Septima a man holds signs saying
'What peace?' and 'No more magnicides.'
 Workers, unions and leftist political parties staged their annual May Day march today, demanding greater worker rights. But how are workers doing? Pres. Santos provided a cheery perspective: 22 million Colombians have formal jobs, the president said, the highest number in 16 years. And Santos claimed that in 74 of his 80 months in power the number of employed has risen.

In contrast, Luis Alejandro Pedraza, president of the CUT labor confederation, says that workers are losing out - both economically and with their lives. The level of union membership has plummeted, he calculates, from 16% of workers
A man takes pictures with a
background of riot police.
in 1986 to 3.7% now, and he says that both the government and private companies avoid paying full benefits by hiring workers using short-term contracts.

Most fundamentally, however, Colombia has few good jobs because its economy depends heavily on exporting raw materials with little added value. A manufacturing economy builds a middle class, but those jobs keep shifting to China.

Still dreaming a lost dream: Communist Party marchers.
(The libertarian Volokh Conspiracy blog wants to rename May Day 'Victims of Communism Day.')

'Denounce!' mistreatment of workers.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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