This coming week will see a global campaign swing into action in support of the Mexican Trade Unions, who are under attack, not only from their own government, but also from multi-national companies operating in the country.
On Monday (February 18th) a delegation from the TUC’s general council will meet with the Mexican Ambassador to protest at the campaign of repression being waged against independent unions in Mexico.
On Wednesday evening (February 20th) at 6:00pm, a public meeting will take place in London to highlight the attacks being made on independent unions.
Following the defeat of the right wing National Action Party in presidential elections last year, new President, Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, has pressed ahead with labour law reform, which in effect legalises outsourcing and temporary contracts, makes it easier to fire workers and creates new obstacles to organising the unorganised.
The reforms were followed by a hammer blow from the Supreme Court, which ruled that 44,000 members of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union who were sacked overnight in 2009 had no case for re-instatement.
Nor has the new government acted to end the repression of the Mexican Metal and Mineworkers’ Union (Los Mineros), which has been under constant attack for the past seven years.
Labour authorities continue to prosecute the union’s leader Napoleon Gomez Urrutia on trumped-up charges, despite seven appellate court rulings in his favour. Napoleon is currently in exile in Canada, supported by the United Steelworkers union and fearful of returning home or travelling through the USA, as the Mexican authorities may try to have him re-arrested.
Of the bodies of 63 mine workers killed in an explosion at a mine owned by the Grupo Mexico company in February 2006, 19 have yet to be recovered.
Authorities in Mexico routinely collaborate with employers to install corrupt company-dominated ‘yellow’ unions in workplaces, signing collective agreements that the workers have no say in and which they often do not even know exist.
These agreements, known as ‘protection contracts’, have been condemned by the International Labour Organisation.
At PKC, a Finnish autoparts supplier that produces for Ford, Volvo and other major car companies workers joined Los Mineros in 2009.
The employer responded by signing a secret contract with a corrupt labour organisation (the CTM), and launched a campaign of threats and intimidation in collusion with state authorities.
Despite this repression, Los Mineros won 2,311 votes last October, losing recognition only narrowly to the CTM, and immediately filed for a new election.
But in reprisal, in December last year PKC fired over 100 workers, including the entire union leadership – who have now launched a global campaign to demand reinstatement and a fair vote.
The public meeting on Mexican unions will be held at Unite’s offices at 126 Theobalds Road, London (nearest tube – Holborn). The meeting is supported by Unite, Workers Uniting, TUC, Campaign For Trade Union Freedom and Latin America Conference 2013.
You can support the campaign for reinstating the sacked PKC workers at: www.labourstartcampaigns.net/