Colombian Labour Minister Griselda Janeth Restrepo Gallego was welcomed to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs by State Secretary Thorben Albrecht on 20 February 2018.
The focus of the visit was an exchange of views on the situation of trade unions in Colombia, the structure of Colombian labour law and collective agreements, as well as the overall development of the peace process in Colombia. Minister Restrepo reported on progress in social and labour market policy. For example, measures to curb informal employment have been put into place, and approximately 500 new positions have been created for labour inspectors to monitor companies' compliance with labour law and to sanction violations more effectively. A committee for the protection of trade unions, which aims to prevent violence against trade unionists and to protect their rights, is now operational.
State Secretary Albrecht emphasised that trade union rights are fundamental human rights, adding that the right to collective bargaining and to strike are essential for a functioning social dialogue. He said that this was the only way for participants to reconcile opposing interests and contain conflicts.
Colombia is a candidate for accession to the OECD. The framework of the accession process includes a focus on the rights of workers and unions.