25 October, 2012Los Mineros of Mexico achieved an impressive proportion of the workers’ ballot at Finnish auto parts multinational PKC, narrowly losing to protection union CTM after three months of vicious intimidation and threats in complicity with PKC management.
The Mineros miners’ union (SNTMMSRM) fought for the right to represent workers and negotiate a collective agreement, and will now challenge the results at the national and international level, on violations of the Federal Labour Law, the Mexican Constitution, ILO Conventions 87 and 98 and rulings by the Mexican Supreme Court.
The workplace election was conducted on 18 October, in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila at PKC auto parts plants (Arneses y Accesorios de Méxicom, a PKC subsidiary).
The Mexican Confederation of Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores de México, CTM) defeated the SNTMMSRM, led by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, by a margin of 198 votes. The union said “the figures are a result of PKC and CTM threats and pressure against employees. SNTMMSRM worker representatives won 2,311 votes, while the CTM received 2,509 votes”.
What is extremely concerning is that a number of non-workers were allowed to participate in the vote. The details on this are still being investigated.
There has been a campaign of persecution against workers who supported the miners’ union and who demanded the democratic right to choose their representatives in an attempt to end the miserable conditions that prevail at the PKC plants. These conditions have been accepted since September 2011 by the "yellow union", the CTM, which has subjected workers to this situation without their consent or knowledge. http://www.industriall-union.org/unions-file-oecd-complaint-against-pkc
Los Mineros cite several examples of worker intimidation by PKC and the CTM. The company refused to allow SNTMMSRM representatives to enter the plants to talk with workers, while allowing access to CTM representatives. The company has made regular and unfounded threats to close the plants and make workers redundant. The local media has constantly repeated these threats. The company forced thousands of workers to attend "training courses" during working hours, sometimes paying them overtime, at which CTM representatives systematically libelled and slandered for hours on end Los Mineros and repeated company threats about job losses if workers chose to be represented by the democratic union. The CTM also offered to pay workers’ electricity and water bills. There is also evidence that the CTM intimidated workers to vote for them. Moreover, the local authorities and the government cooperated with the PKC-CTM to block legitimate trade union representation by IndustriALL’s affiliate.
The SNTMMSRM has thanked IndustriALL Global Union, the Finnish Metalworkers’ Union and other international organizations for their support and solidarity with their struggle. Unions in Finland and Mexico joined with IndustriALL on 28 August in filing a complaint with the OECD against PKC for union busting in Mexico and will jointly continue to support the workers fight for freedom of association. See the text of the OECD complaint here.