Unclear rules, poor working conditions and favoritism of disorganized workers had led to frustration and trouble in Colombia's largest container port in the Pacific city of Buenaventura.
Negotiations had stalled. Dissatisfaction culminated when 82% of workers at the terminal voted to strike.
With a little help from friends
The strikers received support from the city's local inhabitants as well as from transport workers from other parts of Colombia, Panama, and Argentina. The Danish Dock Workers' National Club also took action and put pressure on the employer TCBuen through the Danish company Maersk, which owns the terminal.
The port of Buenaventura is of great economic importance to Colombia, why the Government offered to mediate.
The multifaceted pressure eventually got the social dialogue back on track and created the conditions for a lasting solution for the benefit of both parties.
In November 2018, a new agreement was entered into that ensured higher wages, overtime pay and clear procedures for conflict management. Both the dock workers and the employer called it a "win-win" situation.
3F supported the local union with training in social dialogue and collective bargaining, while the transport workers' union SNTT and the Global Union Federation, ITF, helped ensure the legal aspects.
Based on this training and the success from Buenaventura, SNTT has since negotiated several more collective agreements on behalf of dock workers in other major ports of Colombia.