A group of Colombian union workers and peace activists on Thursday afternoon
staged a protest in Linn Park against Drummond Co., accusing the
Birmingham-based company of human rights violations and failure to protect union
Drummond is a major supplier of coal, much of it from one of the world's
largest open-pit mines, in La Loma, Colombia. The hour-long rally attracted
about 50 people.
Two union leaders from Colombia - Estevinson Avila and Jesus Brochero -
accused Drummond of operating unsafe equipment they say has caused dozens of
workers to be injured on the job.
Avila also said the company failed to protect three union employees in
Colombia, who he says in 2001 were dragged by paramilitary forces off company
buses taking them home from work and murdered.
Drummond issued a statement denying the charges, saying the company
"continues to take great pride in the significant economic contribution our
mining operations make in Colombia."
"Drummond takes very seriously the well-being of our workers and goes to
great lengths in our Colombian operations to provide a safe and secure working
environment," the statement said.
Drummond also took issue with allegations that the company was responsible
for the injury or deaths of any of its Colombian workers, adding the charges
were found to be baseless in a U.S. federal court.
"The charges today have been made by organizations such as Witness for Peace
and School of the Americas Watch who have no credibility whatever and whose
motives are to create social unrest," Drummond said.