Social Dialogue and Freedom of Association
In its National Development Plan for 2006-2010, “A Communitarian State – Development for all”, the Government of Colombia established the need to undertake actions that encourage labor agreement and promote bipartite and tripartite dialogue in a national and not centralized level, in pursuance of reducing informality levels and promoting decent work. Based on this Plan, the Ministry of Social Protection of Colombia requested the accomplishment of a cooperation activity to obtain technical assistance, training and knowledge from the Government of Brazil regarding social dialogue and freedom of unionizing.
This on-site visit was carried out thanks to the co-financing of the RIAL Fund and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, and its strong point was its tripartite character; actually, the Colombian delegation was composed of three officers from the Ministry of Social Protection, a representative of the private sector (ANDI) and one of the trade union sector (CUT).
During the visit, the Colombian delegation was introduced to the Brazilian legislation and to the role of the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) regarding freedom of unionizing and collective bargaining, and examined different institutional spaces for tripartite social dialogue such as the National Board of Migration or the Deliberation Board of the Fund for the Protection of the Worker (Consejo Deliberativo del Fondo de Amparo al Trabajador -CODEFAT), among others. In this exercise, the delegation met with officers from the MTE, as well as representatives from the trade union sector (Central Unica de Trabajadores y Forza Sindical) and the private sector (Confederación Nacional de Industria). This experience allowed the participants to hear the different points of view from the various actors involved in these areas of social dialogue.
According to the Final Report of the Colombian delegation, this cooperation with Brazil will help the Ministry of Social Protection examine its tripartite institutional spaces and define the lines of action regarding matters such as: the review and suitableness of the legislation, monetary resources, technical and administrative support, technical studies, clearly stated rules, and consistent bases of information. In this effort, they will take into account the lessons learned from the Brazilian experience such as the definition of responsibilities and availability of resources in the Commissions and Tripartite Boards, the fact that these agencies participate in the allocation of economic resources, and the existence of complete information systems and rigorous technical studies that facilitate decision-making which is done by consensus.