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Colombia - Trade Unions Flags

Last modified: 2021-08-26 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: colombia | trade union |
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Aside from the three main national unions existing in Colombia, there are also other unions wich represent workers from a particular economic sector, like the USO of the oil industry.
The other major sector union is FECODE (Federación Colombiana de Educadores, or Colombian Teachers Federation, official website: It represents teachers nationwide.
There was a time during the 20th century where other sector unions and company's unions were very important as well, but now the three main national unions, (CTC, CGT and CUT, and now the UTRACUN), plus the sectoral USO and FECODE are the main organizations.
Neither USO or FECODE wanted to merge with any of the national unions because they still hold much negotiating power alone that would be lost if they merge with other unions, as happened with other important unions that merged to form the three main Centrales Obreras (Workers Centrals), as they are locally called, in order to refer to them as the main representatives of Colombian workers.
However there is an estimate, that only 20% of Colombian workers is represented in these national unions, or Central, also because private companies also have their own unions, but these workers would loose benefits if they were to merge into any of these three main Centrals, because not only these Centrals support labor rights, but also may support political candidates, specially leftist candidates, coming mainly from the PDA (Polo Democrático Alternativo, or Alternative
Democratic Pole), which is the merger of AD and PDI parties.
E.R., 23 February 2008

Colombian labor strike flag, ca. 1920s

image by Eugene Ipavec, 4 August 2010

I am requesting your help please in drawing a flag I saw quite a long time ago (May 8-10 years ago). It is a flag seen during a labor protest in which Colombian workers demanded the then-traditional "8 hours labour, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest". The 8-hour day " (The eight-hour day, as it came to be known) movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions unregulated, the  health, welfare and morale of working people suffered. The use of child labour was common. The working day could range from 10 to 16 hours for six days a week.
Robert Owen had raised the demand for a ten-hour day in 1810, and instituted it in his socialist enterprise at New Lanark. By 1817 he had formulated the goal of the eight-hour day and coined the slogan  Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest. Women and children in England were granted the ten-hour day in 1847. French workers won the 12-hour day after the February revolution of 1848. A shorter working day and improved working conditions were part of the general protests and agitation for Chartist reforms and the early organization of trade unions."

One can see several banners regarding this labor demand, here:
- image at website: )
- image  at website: )
It seems that the Colombian flag I saw, was surely inspired by this.
The flag I remember was a plain horizontal black background (I don't know if this was the flag's true color, since the image appears in a b/w photograph of the time, nearly 1920's), with three number 8's in  the middle, resembling coincidentally the Mercedes car manufacturer logo in the way they are arranged (please see scanned image). If I'm not mistaken, this flag came to be during the time of the "Banana  Massacre" (Masacre de las Bananeras) ( and ) incident, in 1928, where a massive labor strike took place by the local workers against their employers, the United Fruit Company (which merged with AMK in 1970 to become the United Brands Company and in 1984 it became to be known by tis current name of Chiquita Brands International) for their poor labor conditions. The company had a deep and long-lasting impact on the economic and political development of several Latin American countries. Critics often accused it of exploitative neocolonialism and described it as the archetypal example of the influence of a multinational corporation on the internal politics of the so-called "banana republics" (a term coined by O. Henry, the pseudonym of the American writer William Sydney Porter).

The flag was seen in the series of books titled "Nueva Historia de Colombia" (by Editorial Planeta, publihsed in 1989, with several volumes) as seen on this picture:
However I don't remember very well the volume and the page where I saw this image.
Esteban Rivera, 1 August 2010

AUGURA - Association of Farmers and Cattle Breeders of Uraba

AUGURA (Asociación de Agricultores y Ganaderos de Urabá, Association of Farmers and Cattle Breeders of Uraba) was established in 1963 to represent farmers and cattle breeders in the northwestern subregion of Urabá, in the Department of Antioquia. It changed its name in 1966 to Asociación de Bananeros y Agricultores de Urabá (Association of Banana growers and Farmers of Uraba), again in 1986 to Asociación de Bananeros de Urabá (Association of Banana growers of Uraba) and finally it settled on Asociación de Bananeros de Colombia (Association of Banana growers of Colombia), but still carrying the marquee.
For additional information go to: AUGURA (official website)

The flag is a horizontal flag with the logo in the middle between two golden stripes, followed by two thin white stripe, ending in two green stripes on the top and on the bottom, respectively from the inside outwards as seen here. The AUGURA flag is seen in the picture the fourth flag from left to right.
Esteban Rivera, 07 May 2016

CUT - Central Unitaria de Trabajdores de Colombia

image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 September 2007

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

image by Eugene Ipavec, 3 September 2007

Central Unitaria de Trabajdores de Colombia (CUT) is Colombia's biggest trade union. It's official website is located at where you can see their flag: CUT letters in red, on a white vertical banner. Their Coat of Arma is seen on the upper right corner on their homepage. Another variants of the flag was reported by Jaumé Ollé in 2004.
The CUT was founded on November 15-17, 1986, but it traces back its roots to 1936. On August 7, 1936 the Confederación de Trabajadores de Colombia (CTC) (Colombian Workers Confederation) was established of Liberal and Communist tendencies. It adhered to the Confederación de Trabajadores de América Latina (CTAL) (Latin American Workers Confederation (LAWC)) and later on to the Federación Sindical Mundial (FSM) (World Federation of Trade   Unions (WFTU)). In May 1950 it breaks away from the Confederación de Trabajadores de América Latina and the Federación Sindical Mundial  by a guideline issued by the Partido Liberal Colombiano and instead it adheres to the Confederacióin Interamericana de Trabajadores (CIT) (Interamerican Workers Confederation (IWC).
Aside from the CTC, on June 12, 1946 the Unión de Trabajadores de Colombia (UTC) (Colombian Workers Union) was established, based on Christian ideas. On May 1, 1964 the UTC evolves into the Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores de Colombia (CSTC) (Colombian Workers Trade Union Confederation). This recently created orgnization addheres to the Congreso Permanente de Unidad Sindical de los Trabajdores de América Latina y el Caribe (CPUSTAL) (Latin American and Caribbean Workers Trade Union Permanent Congress (LAWTUPC)) and later to the Federación Sindical Mundial (World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)) becoming the foremost trade union in Colombia. Later on April 30, 1971 a dissident group within the UTC forms the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) (Labor General Confederation) with   a Social Democratic-Christian tendency. The CGT is affiliated to the Central Latinoamericana de Trabajadores (CLAT)(Latin American Workers Central (LAWC)) and to the Conferencia Mundial del Trabajo (CMT)(World Conference Labour (WCL)).
Apart from these, other non-confederated trade unions in Colombia emerge as well, being labeled as Non-Confederated Trade Tnions, because they were trade unions specifically for a company or representing an economic sector, some with National importance, others with State and Local importance. Among them are FENALTRASE (Transportation trade union), FENASINTRAP, FEDEPETROL (Oil industry trade union), FECODE (Teachers trade union), SITTELECOM (Telecom, the State's biggest telecommunications company before being privatized), BANCARIOS (union of banks' trade unions), gathering public education trade unions, state-owned companies trade unions, bank trade unions, transportation trade unions, health industry and hospitals trade unions, oil and energy trade unions. Then on July 14, 1985, FENALTRASE promotes all Non-Confederated Trade Unions together around the CSTC, signed by the following groups: Usitras, Asicun,   , Sintraferrovías, Sintraicollantas, Fecode, Sintrapopular (which comprised the union of the following trade unions:  Fenaltrase, Fenasibancol, Fedepetrol, Cusi, Central Sindical Revolucionaria, Festrac and the Uso). Then the Coordinadora de Unidad Sindical (CUS) or Trade Union Coordination (TUC) was created, by: CSTC, Confederated Trade Unions, UTC and CTC, to develop into bigger trade union. Then finally on November 15-17, 1986, all of the previously mentioned trade unions (UTC, CSTC, CTC and the Confederated Trade Unions) merge to form the CUT. 
E.R., 3 September 2007

CGT - Confederación General del Trabajo - General Labor Confederation

image by Eugene Ipavec., 6 March 2008

image by Eugene Ipavec, 6 March 2008

This is another Colombian workers union, called CGT (Confederación General del Trabajo, General Labor Confederation). The CGT was  called the CGTD as can be seen on their homepage a picture of the CGT's National Executive Committee, in which the logo of the CGTD is on the background of this meeting.
The CGT official flag can be seen at   It has a very similar pattern compared to the Czech Republic flag - it has two horizontal stripes, the color  being red (on the top fringe), symbolizing the blood of the workers spilled during their struggles, the yellow (on the bottom fringe) is symbolizing the country's richness in natural resources, and the black (on the triangle) symbolizing the will of the workers.
The CGT official logo is at  It is the three letters of the CGT in red on an anvil with a hand holding a torch. It is based on the CGTD logo. CGT official website is at
E.R., 6 March 2008

CGTD - Confederación General de Trabajadores Democráticos - Democratic Workers General Confederation

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

image contributed by Jaume Ollé

CTC - Confederación de Trabajddores de Colombia - Colombian Workers Confederation

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

Founded in 1935.
E.R., 3 September 2007

The CTC has its own official website, at   The Coat of Arms can also be found on their homepage. For more on their historical backgrounds, see this page.
E.R., 23 February 2008

CPC - Confederación de Pensionados de Colombia - Colombian Pensioners Confederation

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

USO - Unión Sindical Obrera - Workers Syndicate Union

image by Eugene Ipavec (based on original by Jaume Ollé), 3 September 2007

It is the trade union of the Ecopetrol company (Empresa Colombiana de Petróleos, Colombian Oil Company), Colombia's biggest State owned company until 2007 when, in a process of privatization starting on August 27 and ending on September 25, it will sell some of its shares to seek capital on the market, on different stages onwards.
Jaume Ollé reported in 2004 also on another flag seen here in a photo.
The USO was officially established in 1937, but it had been active underground since early 1922. It has its own official website at
E.R., 3 September 2007

image by Zoltan Horvath, 11 November 2012

There's another version of the USO flag, seen here.
Esteban Rivera, 27 August 2012

UTRACUN - Unión de Trabajadores de Cundinamarca - Cundinamarca Workers Union

image by Eugene Ipavec, 19 March 2008

There is a new national workers union being set up in Colombia. It's called UTRACUN (Unión de Trabajadores de Cundinamarca, Cundinamarca Workers Union). It started as a Union for Cundinamarca workers. It was established on April 30, 1951, lobbying for better wages, social security coverage among other requests. It is new in terms of nationwide operation. At first it was mainly a regional union. However it expanded up to the point that it currently has national representation. It is in favor of free market practices and supports close relations between employers and employees, as well, as free trade agreements among countries, and other free market practices. In this views, it opposes the other three  big national nationwide unions, CGT, CTC and CUT.
It encompasses in total 66 unions from textiles, flowers, beverages,  food, plastic, metal mechanics, and mining companies, from Antioquia, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Risaralda and Valle, with over 45,000 affiliates.
The flag of the Union can be seen in article at El Tiempo newspaper. The flag is a red over white, horizontal flag, with the Coat of Arms of the Department of Cundinamarca in the middle, surrounded by a half gray cogwheel on the right  and a half yellow laurel wreath on the  left.
UTRACUN official website is at
E.R., 19 March 2008