Meeting in Oslo, the IMF Executive Committee vowed to support Napoleon Gomez Urrutia and the Mexican miners' union in their fight against government interference in union affairs.
In Mexico, the country's largest mining company, Grupo México, and the Mexican government, first under President Vicente Fox, and now under President Felipe Calderón, have systematically and repeatedly violated Mexican law and international standards to crush the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico (SNTMMSRM).
In February 2006, the government illegally removed the union's General Secretary, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, and replaced him with a government appointee, Elías Morales Hernández. Next, the government perverted the Mexican legal system and levelled charges of corruption and embezzlement against Gómez. An independent audit of the union's accounts, commissioned by the IMF, proved all funds were accounted for and exonerated Gómez of any wrong doing, yet the government still refuses to correct this wrong doing.
When a number of inquiries into theses actions revealed that the government had used falsified documents, concealed evidence, and coerced officials to issue baseless arrest warrants against the union leader, Grupo México and the government moved to divide the union, granting overnight recognition to a procompany union and holding "elections" in which workers were forced and coerced to join its ranks.
Meanwhile, Grupo México enjoys full use of the national army and federal police to break strikes, kill workers and arrest union leaders fighting for safer working conditions in Grupo México-owned mines.
Gómez was officially reinstated as General Secretary on April 11, 2007, after a federal court ruled the Labour Secretariat had overstepped its authority and failed to comply with established procedures.
However, Gómez remains in exile due to unfounded pending charges and intense safety and security threats against him and his family.
Today, it seems Grupo México is able to murder, torture, intimidate and abuse workers with complete impunity while the acts of defending democratic freedoms and workers' rights are deemed illicit. The government has relied on force and violence to resolve the country's labour disputes, while criminalizingtrade union activity.
The IMF and its affiliates are calling on the Mexican government to:
- release all union funds illegally seized by the government;
- lift all charges still pending against Napoleón Gómez Urrutia and other members of the SNTMMSRM;
- prosecute in a court of law, immediately and transparently, all those responsible in the corruption of documents and facts; and
- investigate Grupo México's involvement in the murder of Reynaldo Hernández González and the detention and torture of 20 SNTMMSRM members in Nacozari, Sonora.