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Flex-N-Gate women demand respect for labour rights

3 June, 2012Dismissed women workers call on Volkswagen to intervene in their dispute with Flex-N-Gate. They are fighting to establish a democratic union. The IMF repudiates the company's refusal to recognise the freedom of association and criticises the heavy workloads and ill-treatment of workers.

MEXICO: Women workers dismissed by the auto parts company Flex-N-Gate have asked Volkswagen Mexico to apply the Bratislava Declaration to ensure their labour rights are respected by the company.

The Bratislava Declaration is an agreement between Volkswagen in Germany and auto industry workers in Mexico, signed in 2002. The agreement established that the company can compel its commercial partners and suppliers to guarantee respect for labour rights.

Verónica Carreón Leal and Sara Ortega Hernández, who are members of a group of dismissed women workers, say that Volkswagen must ensure compliance with point 1.1 of the declaration, which recognises "the fundamental right of all workers to form trade unions and other representative bodies and join them...".

They say they will continue the fight for recognition of union representatives that have no connection with the PRI-dominated trade union central, the CTM, and its leaders Gonzalo Torres Chetla and Leobardo Soto.

The IMF has expressed its support for their fight "to choose their own, legitimate and democratic trade union representatives" at Flex-N-Gate and joined the workers in asking Volkswagen to ensure compliance with the Bratislava Declaration.

In a letter to the workers, the IMF General Secretary, Jyrki Raina, said that the organisation "strongly condemns all violations of labour rights at Flex-N-Gate, which include heavy workloads and ill-treatment of workers as well as the denial of the freedom of association. We demand that the company complies scrupulously with national and international legislation."

The independent union of Volkswagen auto workers (SITIAVW) asked the IMF to try and curb injustices at other suppliers and announced it would be discussing the matter with managers at Volkswagen Mexico's Puebla plant and taking the matter up at the World Council.