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Mexican electrical workers: five years of struggle – still standing, looking to the future and resisting

17 October, 2014On 11 October 2009, 44,000 employees of the state-owned utility company, Luz y Fuerza del Centro (LyFC), supplier of electricity to the central regions of Mexico, were literally thrown out on to the streets after a presidential decree issued by then President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa shut down the company.

The Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union (SME) decided to undertake a legal and peaceful fight back through the courts. At a mass meeting held a few days later, the union’s most important decision-making body rejected the government’s meagre and erroneously calculated offer of redundancy pay. Instead, workers chose the path of RESISTANCE.

The union has since done everything possible to fight back – organising marches, meetings, hunger strikes, campaigns for the release of political prisoners, negotiations and forums.

At a forum organised by the SME to commemorate five years of struggle, representatives of many organisations reiterated their support for the union and later joined a march to the main square of Mexico City. During the march, the General Secretary, Martín Esparza Flores, joined other members of the national executive in carrying a banner with the slogan "They did not see us born, THEY WILL NEVER SEE US DIE".  At the forum, a letter of support from Jyrki Raina was read out and IndustriALL placards with the slogan AGAINST PRECARIOUS WORK were displayed.

At the forum Flores added that, five years after the illegal decree, “we are still standing, looking to the future and resisting”. The 15,000 workers who remain in the fight are hoping for agreement on a proposal to find jobs for the former LyFC employees at companies in the electricity supply sector.

As part of the commemoration of five years of struggle, Martín Esparza said: “We will continue the fight to re-establish the rule of law, which has been trampled on by multinational companies and fascist governments”.

The fight continues for the electrical workers, who held a march on 15 October to demand re-employment after five years intense social and legal battles, recognition of their labour and human rights and implementation of agreements reached with the federal government.