The PSAC accompanied the visit of two leaders of the Colombian Oil Workers Union, USO to Canada in May 2013, Brothers Rodolfo Vecino, National President of USO and César Loza, Director of International Relations. USO has been a key player in the Colombian labour movement for years, representing workers in the State Oil Company. Because of their leadership and militancy, they have been targeted for repression and have suffered the assassination of 107 of their members in the last few decades, the latest in January 2013.
The workers affiliated to USO at the Canadian registered company, Pacific Rubiales’ facility in Puerto Gaitan went on strike in 2011, protesting the illegal firing of 500 union members, poor working and living conditions, the use of subcontracted labour and a series of other violations by the Canadian Pacific Rubiales Energy company. The government and the Company pretended to negotiate while secretly setting up a company union and proceeding to lay-off all workers who had joined USO.
Consequently, USO, the Sikuani Indigenous group, and several human rights and environmental organizations in Colombia will be holding an ethical tribunal on the actions of Pacific Rubiales on July 13, 2013. USO has invited labour, human rights organizations and Canadian MPs to accompany the tribunal.