The Colombian Labor Ministry on Tuesday expressed regret over the murder of a regional leader of the Sinaltraceba brewery workers union in the northern coastal province of Atlantico.

Unknown gunmen on Saturday fired six times at Ever Luis Marin Rolong, a 46-year-old electrician, as he was waiting for a bus in the town of Soledad.

Marin was transported immediately to the Police Clinic, where he died.

"The labor portfolio laments what happened and sends a message of condolence to his relatives and associates, as well as to his work colleagues," said the Labor Ministry in a communique.

The union leader had worked for 26 years at the Aguila brewery and recently had participated in the Sinaltraceba activities to sign a collective bargaining agreement.

The ministry asked the police and judicial authorities to take the necessary actions to find those responsible for the murder and called for a commitment to labor rights and the union association.

In October, the government of President Juan Manuel Santos admitted that since 1986 some 12,000 murders and threats against union members have been carried out within the framework of Colombia's decades-long armed conflict and it identified them as one of the main groups of victims of the violence.

The halting of union violence was one of the main demands of U.S. Democratic lawmakers during the negotiations leading to a free trade agreement with Colombia, a process that lasted more than a decade and which did not enter into force until May 2012.

Nevertheless, Reps. George Miller and James McGovern in late 2013 published a report in which they revealed that abuses of labor rights continue in Colombia with the perpetrators going unpunished in 83 percent of reported cases. EFE