Juan Gabriel Muñoz
Construction and Wood Workers‘ Union of COLOMBIA
“We, the Colombian workers, frequently dream of the change that, since the independence, was intended after the fair liberation led by Simon Bolivar. Despite this idealistic thinking we see every year how the rulers make mistakes with the administration of public resources that know well how to manage their income but at the time of providing this resource to the people, we can see how the privileged are still somewhat like the Spaniards, who, although a minority, were favored in a greedy way”.
After more than 200 years of independence act; there are many aspects that resemble what in theory we should have changed; there are many men and women who still feel that we are NOT free, the chains of the slaves of the colonial era, today are in museums; but our restrictions today are stronger and less tangible, the world rotates around supply and demand, the workforce is a business where the labor force is monetized but workers are less remunerated for their contribution to the growth of capital despite the global overproduction; workers in Colombia in 2021 are still waiting for what our liberator said,
„Surely the union is what we lack to complete the work of our regeneration. Nevertheless, our division is not strange, because the civil wars are usually between two parties: conservatives and reformers. The first ones are, as a rule, more numerous, because the prevalence of tradition produces the effect of obedience to the established powers; the second ones are always less numerous, although more vehement and enlightened. Thus the physical mass is balanced by the moral force, and the contest is prolonged, its results being very uncertain. Fortunately, among us, the mass has followed the intelligence.». http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/obra-visor/doc-trina-del-libertador–0/html/ff6f5f94- 82b1-11dfacc7-002185ce6064_27.html
Changes occurred where wars and revolutions destroyed everything, even those that were useful, in other places of the world such as Europe, and built a place of opportunities where men and women obtain wellbeing as a result of their effort and constant work, „no one who works 8 hours a day should be poor”.
Colombian workers that migrate to other places can see that their welfare comes as a result of their salary remuneration, the governments of other countries have been managing public employment policies that generate educational and technological alliances so that the economies grow for the welfare of the collective.
The construction and wood workers union of Colombia believes our projects get stronger by the fact of seeing possible a better place to work where our affiliates deliver with their hands the personal growth and the scope of their life projects, in personal aspects such as health and safety in their workplaces, in family aspects such as the conformation and maintenance of a family based on the feeling of love, in socio-cultural aspects such as the enjoyment of their targets and the free consumption of entertainment and in educational aspects such as being able to access training to strengthen their talents or even the guarantees that an expert in a trade deserves.
Technologies such as the construction of the subway of Bogota, Colombia, deserves special vigilance management, the workers of this project see their expectations of job stability that must comply with the responsible relationship of the employer – employee, being aware that this project has an extensive time of realization and as a platform of decent and dignified work we are focused on always giving support so that this avant-garde means of transportation provides pride to the Colombians that authorized it and to the workers that will make it come true, since it is a part of the progress of our country.
The labor force of our country is highlighted by its connection with the fulfillment of the goals of the administrators, we are workers with a strog sense of responsibility, thankful for the opportunities, but at the same time we are critical regarding the unequal conditions of the new forms of relationship between capital and labor, nowadays we have a more qualified and more educated labor force, we have professionalized a great deal of trades and yet today we are less remunerated economically, which indicates that we are in the middle of a restless and dynamic generation, yet more insatiable and forced to participate in processes such as social explosions influenced by the growing access to communication technologies.
Despite the fact that our country is considered to be on the road to development, it is difficult to measure how long we will be “on the road to development”, when this road is constantly replaced by the president in office, development projects change in the same way that mayors, governors and presidents change, while the minimum wage in our country has an insufficient growth dynamic in the face of the globalized economy and transversality due to the price of the dollar as an international currency based on supply and demand, in other words, since Colombia decided to sign free trade agreements, the minimum wage oscillates between 260 and 270 dollars and thus we have realised that our economic independence does not exist and we have no sovereignty. Government strategies are becoming progressively less absolutist and are dependent on the forms suggested by the multinationals, which strengthens the theory of trade unionists that says that “we are not free”, that our struggles are still more alive than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic proved that a lot of jobs that were thought to be formal and strong were based on speculative economies and when we stopped producing, many jobs ceased to exist because they were weakly supported by governments, formal employment is becoming more and more demanding in relation to the consumption indexes of human beings, but in countries like ours, labor charges are immeasurable, while a production technology in developed countries can increase its results only with industrial automation, in Colombia we still believe that working men and women must work overtime to produce more, while the deterioration of their quality of life is absolute. A different case of entrepreneurs who have opened the doors to leverage new technologies such as the internet and social networks, new technologies are quite innovative and generate millions of dollars that were previously in charge of traditional jobs especially in the areas of logistics and public transport, smartphone applications deliver to your front door all the products and services that make everyday life easier.
The global opening brought with it very challenging aspects that are still difficult to assimilate, consuming food that is not produced by our farmers, shoes that are not produced in a traditional way, exciting technologies that connect in a matter of seconds even if you are thousands of kilometers away, among others, are the object of a responsible position that nothing will be as Simon Bolivar and his armies imagined it. Even though if we think about it, the philosophy of uniting the whole world is the spiritual philosophy that was also taught by a liberator more than 2000 years ago.
Fortunately, access to information is facilitated for those who are interested and allows us freedom, „Knowledge is power. Information liberates. Education is the foundation of progress, in every society, in every family“ Kofi Annan 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former UN Secretary General.
The current generation is aware of the advantages of virtuality, today’s workers know the history and we must be aware that we are still building it, many things have changed, some not necessarily for the better, union organizations are becoming fewer but those of us who are determined believe that we will find enough tools to continue floating in this immense sea, in which challenges are summarized in promoting a better world than the one we already know and allowing those loved ones who are our children and the new generations to enjoy what perhaps we have always dreamed of, but which has been difficult for us to materialize. We are responsible as guardians to function better for the generations that will inherit the world we know.