Spotlight News 6/28/2016

Officials Report $112 Million in Losses Due to Ongoing Cargo Truck Driver Strike in Colombia

Cargo truck drivers in Colombia are into their fourth week on strike, and companies and cargo movement are suffering as industry officials report an estimated $112 million in national economic losses. Officials at the Pacific port in Buenaventura indicated that warehouses and yards are at maximum capacity as sea containers primarily loaded with grains, poultry, and milling products continue to accumulate. Other ports, including Santa Marta, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, are experiencing similar delays. In addition to the buildup at the Port of Buenaventura, the truck driver strike has reportedly halted the movement of some 7,000 tonnes of cargo per day in Valle del Cauca Department. Other ports, including Santa Marta, Barranquilla, and Cartagena, are experiencing similar delays. The neighboring department of Cauca is also reportedly seeing dramatically reduced levels of cargo transportation.

Industry officials estimate that about 150,000 drivers, or 40 percent of all transporters in the country, are on strike. Although drivers initially stated that they would not block roads, reports indicate that transporters were stopped on major highways in Medellin, Antioquia and Cali, Valle del Cauca. Negotiations between truck drivers and labor ministry officials are ongoing but have so far failed to produce any type of agreement that would end the strike.

Officials in Bangladesh Warn of Labor Unrest at Factories Over Wage and Allowance Payments

Two Bangladeshi government agencies, the Commerce Ministry and the Dhaka Police Department, published separate lists identifying nearly 360 factories that they indicate are vulnerable to labor unrest over potential non-payment of wages and special holiday allowances. Local sources have not reported the criteria the agencies used to make their determinations. Officials also indicated that protests have recently occurred over wage and allowance payments in Dhaka and other areas, and members of 12 garment sector labor unions participated in a rally in the capital last week alleging that some factory owners attempted to avoid paying monthly wages and holiday allowances in recent months. Labor ministry officials asked garment manufacturers to pay the Ramadan holiday allowances by tomorrow and the June monthly wage by July 6, the last day of the Islamic holy month.

In a separate development, one of the two main worker health and safety organizations in the country suspended its ties with three additional garment factories, citing their failure to provide evidence for satisfactory remediation processes. The organization has now cut its ties with a total of 83 factories due to safety issues. In total, 28 factories have successfully addressed all of the needed repairs specified in their respective corrective action plans issued through the organization.

Authorities in Compiegne, France Seize 230 Kilograms of Cocaine From Cargo Truck Transporting Glass Tiles

French police in Compiegne seized about 230 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a cargo truck transporting glass tiles. The shipment originated in Brazil, where traffickers allegedly used the rip-off technique to hide the cocaine in the consignment and replace the broken seal with a fake. The shipment arrived at the port of Le Havre in France, was loaded onto a truck, and reached the manifested destination before employees discovered the illegal drugs. Police are investigating how the shipment eluded customs officers.