Bristol Latin America Forum is an annual event held in Bristol on Latin American politics, society and culture. The Forum comprises of workshops, film, a panel discussion, dance, music, food and in 2008 for the first time closed with a World Cafe process.

It is organised by local grassroots Latin American solidarity groups, some of whom form part of larger national and international organisations and networks. It is not for profit, horizontally organised and we welcome your participation.

This blog began as a means of publicising and web-streaming the Forum in 2008 and is now a space for Bristol - Latin America related information all year round. See previous posts for details of last the 2008 Forum and video clips of the event. If you want to publicise an event please email the blog moderator.


Request for Moral and Financial Support in Strike at the Drummond Coal Mine, Colombia

Request for Moral and Financial Support in Strike at the Drummond Coal Mine, Colombia

Please forward.

Operations at the Drummond open cast coal mine have stopped after the catering staff blocked the entrances this morning to the kitchens and laundries where they work. No food is being served or prepared and so the miners have stopped production.

The 400 workers are on strike demanding:

  • Dignified working conditions
  • An increase in the pittance salary they currently receive to reflect the damage to their bodies from daily contamination
  • Direct contracts with Caves who has just renewed the catering contract with Drummond for three years instead of temporary precarious employment.

The workers currently have permanent contracts with Servicooptel, a supposed workers’ cooperative, common in Colombia as a tactic used by Companies to avoid meeting the necessary legal requirement for their employees. Caves plans to end the contract with Servicooptel on the 31st January, which would result in unemployment for all and an end to the union branch. This was the catalyst to go on strike but the workers had already had enough after months of being treated as slaves, humilliated and harassed. Catering for the Coal Industry documents their labour conditions.

Drummond exported 25 million tonnes of coal in 2007 to the US and Europe with profits of $1.15 billion. Yet, the kitchen staff are paid just £5 a day; half of which pays for accomodation, half on food and transport for their families. There are little personal savings, little money in the union branch (8 months old). Every day of the strike the 400 employees need to eat. Food for their children is also needed as the last paycheck won’t last indefinately.

"What we will need is economic and moral support during the strike. Economic so we can eat and moral to counter the psychological games that the company will pay"

Each day the strike lasts £500 is needed for food. The Drummond miners, and the Drummond union Sintraminetica are financially contributing as well as supporting the strike with protests at the entrance to the mine. Sinaltrainal nationally is contributing but more support is needed.

Please send letters of support in Spanish or English to

Please make financial contributions to:

Espacio Bristol Colombia
Sort Code 08-60-01
Account Number 20081876
Unity Trust Bank Plc, 9 Brindleyplace
4 Oozells Square, Birminhgam, B1 2HB,
The reference for the transfer is Espacio Bristol Colombia 51797

Please send an email to so we can pass the money on as quick as possible

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