Summary of Case Study Findings
Case Study #1: Pacific Rubiales’ Operations in Puerto Gaitán
· Stigmatization of unionists affiliated to USO (Unión Sindical Obrera); mass firing of workers who belonged to this trade union and who participated in social mobilizations; restriction of workers’ free expression on the issue of the right to trade union membership; coercion by the Canadian company to oblige its workers to withdraw their membership from the USO trade union and to join the union promoted by the company.
· The living conditions in the workers’ camps are inhumane. The services provided are inadequate: there is not enough water to allow all workers to wash themselves; the sanitary pumps are well below adequate standards and are very unhygienic; there is not sufficient time or privacy to allow workers to satisfy their physiological needs.
· The workers sleep in bunks, which are containers allocated by the company in which small mattresses are arranged side by side. These mattresses and the pillows provided are of such poor quality that workers cannot rest sufficiently. There is no ventilation in the bedrooms.
· Work contracts are precarious. They are offered for specific projects or fixed periods of time, and often renewed on a monthly basis. Workers must commit to 21 days of work, followed by 7 days of rest.
· Contracting is done through a consolidated employment agency (ASOJUNTAS) that provides Pacific Rubiales and its contracting firms with a steady supply of workers. Workers are often required to make a payment as a means of ensuring that they are contracted.
· Some workers must labour for more than 12 hours at a time without receiving any overtime payments.· Two rest days are used for the transportation of the workers from the oil camp to their place of residence in the municipal area, and the firms that hire them do not offer any compensation for this.
· The food provided is insufficient and sometimes arrives in a putrid state.
· Workers for some contracting firms (for example, DUFLO) work between 13-14 hours per day, but are only paid for 9.
· Many workers are required to undertake tasks that are more advanced than those for which they are paid, which means that they are not being compensated adequately for their work.
· The salaries paid by the multinational corporation do not reflect the cost of living in the municipality of Puerto Gaitán.
· The indigenous communities (Sikuanis) located in the area, have been displaced from their ancestral habitats due to the expansion of the oil project.
· The project has also generated a major wave of migration of people from other parts of the country, which has caused disruptions to the local economy and to the social fabric of the community.
According to this report, working for Pacific Rubiales (PRE.to) is something like paradise. Here's an extract of the executive summary report, click through for the full report and cover letter here.
And would it surprise the merry whatnot out of you to learn that case study number two is Gran Colombia Gold (GCM.to)? I wonder what the connection is between these two companies....hmmmm....