A group of former employees at’ Colombian unit restarted their hunger strike over the weekend after a U.S. mediator failed to strike a settlement between the group and the auto maker.
The former GM Colmotores employees claim they were wrongly fired by the auto maker after work-related injuries prevented them from performing their duties. They began grabbing headlines last month when they sewed their mouths shut in a hunger strike outside the U.S. embassy in Bogota.
The group, known as ASOTRECOL, restarted its hunger strike Friday.
“The talks broke down, even though we offered them quite a few things,” says GM spokeswoman Katie McBride.
The offer to the former employees included job retraining, health coverage and compensation, plus ongoing support for the workers and their families, McBride tells WardsAuto.
A broader statement from the auto maker says, “GM’s final offer to the group was generous, and on par with similar proposals we have made in the United States.
“Our goal has always been to enable a productive conclusion. We appreciate the objectivity, thoroughness and professionalism of the mediators and are disappointed the ASOTRECOL leaders were unwilling to continue with the mediation process, which was approaching a resolution satisfactory to all parties.
“GM Colmotores has a strong track record of corporate responsibility and citizenship – a commitment it has upheld for more than 56 years. The site’s safety processes meet GM’s stringent standards, consistent withfacilities around the world.”
The workers are conducting their demonstrations against GM outside the U.S. embassy, hoping to highlight the parallel between the auto maker and its U.S. taxpayer-funded bankruptcy in 2009.
Says ASOTRECOL President Jorge Parra in a statement Friday, “Our lives have been left in ruins by GM. We were fired due to workplace injuries and offered no severance, no worker’s compensation insurance, and the company lied about the reason for our dismissal.
“Since this sixth attempt at mediation with GM Colmotores has ended without a settlement, we are left with no recourse except to sew our mouths shut and restart our hunger strike today.”