BWI one step closer to signing an IFA with Cementos Argos SA

The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) and the Cementos Argos SA on 28 October signed a Joint Declaration expressing their commitment to ink an International Framework Agreement (IFA) which will cover the Colombian-based multinational cement company’s entire operations and workers. 

The said agreement will enter into force once it is approved and signed by the two parties on the occasion of BWI’s 29th World Board Meeting in April 2022.

Saúl Méndez Rodriguez, BWI Vice President and Chair of the BWI Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean said that the IFA will be the first of its kind to be signed outside of Europe. “This achievement is a positive precedent for social dialogue and corporate responsibility in the Global South, which we hope will respond well to the complex situation in Colombia and the region.”

Fernando Izaguirre, General Secretary of the Honduran Cement Industry Workers Union (SINTRAINCEHSA) and Saira Veliz, General Secretary of the Cement Industry & Allied Workers Union of Panama (SITICEDPA), both signatories to the declaration, agreed with Méndez. They expressed their belief that the agreement will provide additional protection to CBA-guaranteed rights already enjoyed by the company’s workers and other fundamental labour rights.  

The Cementos Argos also expressed its satisfaction with the signing of the commitment declaration. The company was represented by Cementos Argos President Juan Esteban Calles, Honduras Corporate Managers Tomás Restrepo and Camilo Restrepo; Panama Operations Managers Luis Tovar, Graciela Castellanos and Rodolfo Gutiérrez, and Medellin Argos Corporate Officers Carolina Brandani, Cristina Ortiz, July Restrepo and Cesar Augusto Mejia. 

The signing of the declaration was also witnessed by Nilton Freitas, BWI Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, and José López and Manuel Fernández from the Colombian Association of Construction, Building Materials and Wood Worker´s (INTERGREMIAL).

Freitas explained that the final text of the IFA will be presented at BWI’s World Board Meeting on 27-29 April 2022 in Geneva for final approval.

Cementos Argos SA is a multinational cement company that currently employs 9,500 workers. Its operations are located in the United States, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, Suriname, Guatemala and Guyana.