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Addressing breaches of labour rights in EU trade agreements

First complaint ever


The EU Domestic Advisory Group under the EU multiparty trade agreement (MTA) with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru met on 24 October 2022 to provide input to  the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development under the agreement. CNV Internationaal’s complaint regarding precarious working conditions in the mines in Colombia and Peru was part of the joint statement of the European Domestic Advisory Group.  

The reason why lCNV Internationaal filed this complaint is “To have the European Union work with Colombia and Peru to achieve compliance with the sustainability Chapter of the Trade Agreement," explains Maurice van Beers of CNV Internationaal, who presented the complaint.  

It is for the first time ever, trade union organisations, together with CNV Internationaal, filed a complaint with the EU in a quest to make precarious working conditions in the mines in Colombia and Peru visible. These are the mines producing the coal and metals that play such a crucial role in he European Union’s energy supply.


During their meeting, the EU DAG representatives declared respect for labour standards and the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). 

They also added it is of great importance to monitor and establish proposals for solutions regarding reported abuses and complaints especially regarding the serious situation in Colombia, linked to the killing of social and trade union activists and the violation of the commitments made in the peace agreement. 

The EU DAG representatives explicitely mentioned the abuses in the area of labour rights, such as freedom of association, decent work, living wage, living incomes and occupational health and safety, in sectors of interest for trade with Europe, such as mining in Colombia and Peru.

A key issue proposed by the EU DAG is the creation of a detailed road map to adress the labour violations mentioned in the complaint.


Publication date 01 11 2022